Dennis Alexander appeared at the Oct. 7 Tyler County Board of Education meeting to present a slide show and speak about Energy Speaks, a campaign sponsored by the Just Beneath the Surface Alliance.
He spoke about the effects and benefits that oil and gas has on the state as a whole. And how it might impact the people.
He started out by mentioning that most of this would be good news, sometimes a rarity. He said he was there to provide the public with facts and to clarify some false information, as well as offer an in-depth look at the industry. "We have found that there is so much misinformation out there," said Alexander. "Our objectives is to go to groups like you to try and tell you what is really happening and to give you a chance to ask questions about what really might be going on."
He said the oil and gas industry is important in terms of tax dollars. Five percent of gross revenue goes to the state in the form of a severance tax and another two percent for levy rates in the county and 70 percent of that ends up funding education.
Citing Marshall County as an example, he suggested the local board look at the amount of new construction for educational facilities.
There are about 30,000 oil and gas jobs in West Virginia and production has more than doubled in the last 18 months. "We produce in excess of one billion cubic feet of gas per day. We also project an additional 20,000 new jobs by 2015," said Alexander. "The average oil field worker makes $65,000 per year and these are blue collar jobs-good jobs for West Virginians."
From 2009-2011 the industry has paid more than $271 million in property taxes and $230 million more in severance taxes and that will go up as production increases.
Horizontal well drilling act was passed in 2011. "There are thousands of people working today because of the shale whose jobs didn't exist five years ago," said Alexander. "A whole new industry now exists. People with high school educations that can pass a drug test can get these jobs and stay in West Virginia, making $65,000."
He stated that being drug free is a big thing because the industry loses a lot of people to the drug test.
The industry also supports the education system through teacher seminars and school career days. Career days are held at different school locations and can be found on their websites, or look online at tomdunnacademy.org for a complete listings of classes offered. Some are free and include room and board. He closed with a thank you to the board and welcomed everyone to explore the possibilities available in the oil and gas industry.
In other matters at the board meeting, Barry Harter sent a letter to the board expressing his thanks for the Summer Knights radio station program. He enjoyed listening to the station and felt that Greg Goodfellow and the students did a good job.
Superintendent Robin Daquilante thanked the board for allowing her recent trip, saying that she had a good time and was able to meet with educators from various states and do some networking.
Jeff Davis, financial manager and treasurer gave the financial report.
Under approval of requests: Stefanie Suter, Tyler Consolidated High School Cheer Coach, to take the cheerleaders to the 2013 Region 1 Cheerleading Competition on Nov. 9 at Parkersburg High School, with bus for transportation;
Coach Matt Kinnard and Assistant Coach Megan Campbell permission to take the Girls' Soccer Team to a professional soccer game in Columbus, Ohio, on Oct. 5, with bus for transportation;
Coach Roger Smith and Assistant Coach Richard Long permission to take the TCMS Varsity Volleyball Team to a tournament on Oct. 5, at Robert C. Byrd High School in Nutter Fort, W.Va. Transportation will be provided by the coaches and board employees Melinda Walton and Jeff Davis.
Abram Negie, choir director, for all and select choir students to participate in the following events, with buses for transportation: Marshall University Choir Festival in Huntington, W.Va., Oct. 24-26; All State Chamber Choir auditions at Alderson Broaddus College in Philippi, W.Va., on Nov 9 (two students to be transported by Negie in his personal vehicle); TCHS Choir to perform the National Anthem for the Wheeling Nailers hockey game in Wheeling, W.Va., on Nov 14; TCMS Choir to Sistersville and New Martinsville nursing homes to perform on Dec. 8; Junior High All State Chamber Choir/WV ACDA Conference from Jan. 30 through Feb. 1, 2014. Negie will be reimbursed for expenses.
Other requests: John and Sarah Long for their daughter, Helena Long, to be released from Tyler County Schools for the 2013-14 school year pending approval from Wetzel County Board of Education.
They considered allowing a parking lot to be constructed on the property on Dodd Street. It was recommended that a more formal meeting be held with the County Commission to receive more information.
Under personnel: Resignations were approved effective immediately for Cheryl Ferrell, substitute secretary.
Employments and transfers: Approval of an extra-curricular contract for Matt Jennings, choir director at A.I. Boreman Elementary School, in the amount of $350, effective immediately. Approval of Brendan Negie, as Chief Mechanic, effective immediately, pending satisfactory CIB results.
Approval was given for the minutes of the Sept. 30 meeting and for the authorization to allow and pay bills.
The next meeting of the Tyler County Board of Education will be held on Oct. 21 at 7:30 p.m.