Regional Coordination: Improve Oversight and Accountability of Regional Education Service Agencies (RESAs) to Maximize Resources

Establish a comprehensive strategic planning process to review each RESA's capabilities, strengths and current services.

Estimated cost savings
$782,000 per year based on 10 percent projected cost-savings in insurance, communications, utilities and energy, supplies, and equipment.
Policy change(s) required
No.
Actions already underway
RESAs have developed a strategic planning process through the WVBOE RESA Committee.
WVBOE response
The WVBOE agrees with the recommendation to establish a strategic planning process to review the RESAs' capabilities, strengths and current services. The WVBOE calls for the results of the process to be published and communicated to counties and schools to make them aware of the RESAs' capabilities aligned to their personalized technical assistance needs.

WVBOE calls for the RESAs strategic plan to be directly tied to the WVBOE's goals and priorities.

Clarify the core services each RESA should provide and identify opportunities for collaboration.

Estimated cost savings
N/A
Policy change(s) required
No.
Actions already underway
N/A
WVBOE response
The WVBOE agrees with the recommendation that each RESA assess the core services currently being addressed as related to the areas of service required of RESAs by Code in a matrix to be shared throughout districts.

The Board suggests a statewide forum be held to share individual RESA core services and capabilities to increase collaboration between agencies and increase statewide awareness.

The Board also recommends RESAs should be working together on many back office functions, such as cooperative purchasing, assistance in recruitment, assessing possible energy savings, and other functions districts must perform in order to operate best.

Standardized RESA job descriptions so that the WVDE can rely on a more consistent understanding of the expertise and ability of RESA staff.

Estimated cost savings
N/A
Policy change(s) required
No.
Actions already underway
RESAs completed the standardized job descriptions, as of October 1, 2012.
WVBOE response
The WVBOE agrees with this recommendation and commends the RESAs for completing this action.

Establish a formal role for RESAs to more effectively use them to help identify struggling schools and to work, in cooperation with the WVDE and the district, in developing interventions.

Estimated cost savings
N/A
Policy change(s) required
No.
Actions already underway
As of April 2012, the WVBOE is requiring a quarterly report describing what kind of technical assistance RESAs are currently providing in low-performing schools. RESAs have been built into the school improvement model so that they become partners in a cohesive process to improve struggling schools.
WVBOE response
The WVBOE agrees with part of this recommendation that RESAs take a more formal leadership role in assisting low-performing schools and to work with the OEPA and the WVDE to develop interventions.

The Board directs RESAs to work with school improvement a significant amount of their time. The Board calls for realignment of staff in the RESAs to serve low-performing schools and also provide additional assistance by utilizing WVDE staff currently assisting low-performing schools. It is also imperative that the WVDE provide RESAs with the necessary data to develop interventions in these schools.

Educate districts on the role of RESAs and correct the perception that districts must invite RESAs into the county.

Estimated cost savings
N/A
Policy change(s) required
No.
Actions already underway
N/A
WVBOE response
The WVBOE agrees with the recommendation that the role and capabilities of RESAs be formally communicated to districts as valuable and necessary partners in serving low-performing schools, school improvement, and delivering high quality regionalized professional development.

The WVBOE recommends developing an MOU between RESAs and districts in order to formalize their collaboration.

Develop a comprehensive policies and procedures manual, including financial procedures, to provide for more consistent operations of the RESAs.

Estimated cost savings
N/A
Policy change(s) required
No.
Actions already underway
RESAs recently adopted a policy and procedures manual for all RESAs to ensure alignment.
WVBOE response
The manual has been written and adopted by all RESAs. This manual is aligned financially and with WVBOE policy.

Streamline and focus RESA oversight and accountability and eliminate regional councils.

Estimated cost savings
N/A
Policy change(s) required
No.
Actions already underway
N/A
WVBOE response
The WVBOE agrees with this recommendation to streamline oversight and accountability of RESAs. Clear leadership from the WVBOE is necessary to avoid confusion in the chain of command. The WVBOE will require RESA strategic plans be aligned to WVBOE goals and the director's annual evaluation benchmark these goals. The Board also recommends all RESA directors are evaluated on activities related to these goals as documented by county and school feedback.

However, the WVBOE does not agree with eliminating regional councils. RESA regional councils provide essential opportunities for school district and higher education input for RESA services. Changing regional council representation could jeopardize the RESAs eligibility for receiving foundation or federal grants.

Designate RESAs as eligible applicants for E-rate funding.

Estimated cost savings
RESAs' eligibility to receive E-rate funding could increase their funding by several million dollars.
Policy change(s) required
No.
Actions already underway
The WVDE and RESAs have requested a federal interpretation of RESA eligibility for E-rate. E-rate authorities, Universal Services Administrative Company (USAC), denied the approval based on questions related to West Virginia state Code. Additional legal documentation was prepared by the WVDE to respond to USAC to again request approval, based on respective documentation of the RESAs, and the additional legal responses from WVDE attorneys. A second response from USAC should be forthcoming.
WVBOE response
The WVBOE agrees with this recommendation and requests the WVDE to continue to assist RESAs in completing the application process for E-rate funding and provide timely feedback as needed to successfully obtain this funding.