Facilities: Implement Efficiencies in School Building Capital Projects and Management

Hire state employees in the School Building Authority (SBA) to replace some contracted professional consultants, such as architects and engineers, who are basically used full time because of the amount of ongoing projects conducted by the SBA.

Estimated cost savings
$1.4 million for the state and $1.1 million for counties over five years.
Policy change(s) required
Amend §18-9D-3 of Code to place responsibility with the SBA.
Actions already underway
W.Va. Code 18 9D-3 (6) allows for additional professional services under the "Powers of Authority." Therefore, the SBA currently could employ professionals to perform these services.
WVBOE response
The WVBOE agrees with the recommendation, however the SBA is not under the auspices of WVBOE. The WVBOE notes that the proposed savings will be realized only if eight additional staff members were employed to perform architectural services in-house.

Amend Section 18 of West Virginia Code so that the staff and responsibilities of the Office of Facilities become the responsibility of the SBA.

Estimated cost savings
N/A
Policy change(s) required
§18-9D-1.
Actions already underway
N/A
WVBOE response
The WVBOE does not agree with the recommendation. The Board is charged with general supervision of schools, and to outsource facilities would be an abrogation of that duty. Facilities are such an integral part of the school system, including our accreditation process, that the Board cannot avoid its duty in this area.

The School Building Authority was established to build and in some cases rebuild schools, not operate or maintain them. That responsibility must rest with the Board. However, the Board calls for the WVDE and the SBA to work together to identify and eliminate unnecessary duplication of services between both state agencies.

Establish the SBA as the single point of responsibility and authority to address energy issues. This can be done by:

• amending Section 18 of Code to place responsibility with the SBA for working with counties to reduce all school facilities' energy usage;
• working with counties to use energy specialists where appropriate to reduce energy consumption and create a new classification for energy specialists in Code.

Estimated cost savings
Based on the Harrison County savings of $1.1 million when it hired a specialist and extrapolation of a 10 percent savings on the $60.1 million spent by counties on energy in 2009-2010, a savings of $3 million to $6 million per year in energy savings could be anticipated.
Policy change(s) required
Amend Section §18-9D of Code.
Actions already underway
The Harrison County model.
WVBOE response
The WVBOE does not agree that the SBA should be established as the single point of responsibility to address energy issues, but requests that a clarification be considered to assure that a fragmentation of resources and manpower does not exist.

The WVBOE directs RESAs to explore energy management contracts and enter into them as appropriate. The WVBOE also supports allowing schools to use saved energy funds for classrooms.

We applaud the cost-saving measures of the Harrison County model, and call for the creation of a new classification for skilled energy specialists to develop education and incentive programs.

Eliminate the SBA expenditure for two-year heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) maintenance contracts and the cost incurred by WVDE for backing up current HVAC technicians.

Estimated cost savings
$360,000 savings annually by elimination two-year HVAC contracts.
Policy change(s) required
§18-9E-4.
Actions already underway
Assurances through the SBA Policy and Procedures Manual that local personnel have necessary training and expertise to service HVAC systems being installed in West Virginia school buildings.
WVBOE response
The WVBOE disagrees with this recommendation in conjunction with the recommendations for testing and hiring certified technicians. The additional costs associated with hiring certified technicians across the state will exceed the projected savings.

Develop and streamline written procedures to define roles and responsibilities and timeframes for action for each agency involved in facilities planning.

Estimated cost savings
N/A
Policy change(s) required
N/A
Actions already underway
N/A
WVBOE response
The WVBOE requests that the SBA and the WVDE work on a clarification of procedures to clearly define the roles and responsibilities for these agencies related to facilities planning.

Modify Code to allow the SBA to use funds for technology equipment.

Estimated cost savings
N/A
Policy change(s) required
§18-9D-2 - specifically excludes the purchase of computers and equipment used for instructional purposes.
Actions already underway
Current state Code allows the SBA to use funds for utilities and equipment that support instructional technology. To date, the SBA has clarified and incorporated funding technology wiring into all new, and where appropriate, renovated projects funded by the SBA.
WVBOE response
The WVBOE agrees with this recommendation and calls upon the SBA and the WVDE to develop a process to avoid duplication of effort. The WVBOE recognizes that the future success of West Virginia's students hinges on increasing the availability of technology, and supports allowing the SBA and counties to include equipment purchases as part of the furnishings of new or renovated construction problems. The Board recommends the SBA and the WVDE work out a process to avoid duplication of effort, and require the SBA to review the change order process to ensure money is not being taken away from technology.

The Board also recommends that the specific technology needs of districts and schools related to technology, such as computer lab equipment and configuration, be accommodated.

Amend the Code to allow the SBA and counties to use all methods of financing, including lease-purchases, to acquire technology equipment.

Estimated cost savings
N/A
Policy change(s) required
§18-9D.
Actions already underway
The SBA and the WVDE staffs, through a subcommittee established by the SBA, are currently exploring financing methods for instructional technology, including lease-purchases. A report will be forwarded to the governor.
WVBOE response
The WVBOE agrees with the recommendation that state Code be amended in alignment with the report created by the subcommittee of the SBA and WVDE staffs. However, caution must be exercised in utilizing lease-purchase agreements to acquire technology equipment due to the rapid change in tech needs and specifications.

Use lease-purchase agreements so that counties can expedite capital projects.

Estimated cost savings
N/A
Policy change(s) required
18-9D-3 - relating to the powers of the SBA to enter into a lease-purchase agreements.
Actions already underway
This option is currently available to the SBA and the counties, but has not been used.
WVBOE response
The WVBOE agrees with the recommendation of the use of lease-purchase agreements so that counties may expedite capital projects by allowing for private funding which otherwise would not be available. The SBA should make lease-purchases a part of its analysis when making decisions about projects and funding.