Audit Response
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Facilities: Reassess Cedar Lakes Conference Center Operation

Move Cedar Lakes Conference Center (CLCC) out of the WVDE to a department with the resources, expertise and mission to support a facilities operations.

Estimated cost savings
$303,000 in year one, $1.7 million over five years.

In addition, the WVDE has the potential to save several thousand to millions of dollars by utilizing CLCC through savings in payment for meeting space and a reduction in meal costs.
Policy change(s) required
§18-2-16.
Actions already underway
Cedar Lakes Foundation has requested the Board endorse its work to develop a five-year strategic plan detailing an innovative approach for education and training needs.

The WVDE has convened the Cedar Lakes Foundation and drafted a proposed plan to refocus the educational mission of Cedar Lakes and focus on donations to the foundation.

Deeds were researched, copied and given to the WVDE Legal Office and to the executive director of Internal Operations. A financial statement was provided to the assistant superintendent of Student Services and the executive director of Internal Operations. This research was used to inform the Board's response.
WVBOE response
The WVBOE agrees with the recommendation to move Cedar Lakes Conference Center from the WVDE, and recommends retaining the mineral rights to support West Virginia classrooms.

The WVBOE recommends that another department with appropriate resources, expertise and mission support and administer the CLCC.

Exempt Cedar Lakes from WVDE's statutory requirement to match county service personnel wage levels.

Estimated cost savings
$353,910 savings over five years.
Policy change(s) required
§18A-4-18.
Actions already underway
Full-time positions are being replaced with part-time staff when full-time staff resign or retire.
WVBOE response
If WVDE continues to operate CLCC, we will not support this recommendation.

Continue to encourage state departments, particularly educational agencies, to use Cedar Lakes Conference Center facilities.

Estimated cost savings
CLCC has estimated that the state departments could save thousands to millions of dollars in the cost of paying for meeting space and a reduction in the cost of meals and refreshments, etc.
Policy change(s) required
No.
Actions already underway
Students utilized the facility this summer for high quality summer camps.

Several renovations have been completed and upgrades have been made to the conference meeting hall. Presently, the assembly hall is being renovated and expanded.

The WVDE reports there has been an increase in the usages by the WVDE, resulting in increased revenue for Cedar Lakes and a cost savings for the WVDE. Exact figures were not available.
WVBOE response
If the WVDE continues to operate CLCC, WVBOE encourages state agencies to use CLCC. However, the facilities must be continually upgraded to support 21st century technology.

Increase Cedar Lakes advertising and promotion efforts.

Estimated cost savings
N/A
Policy change(s) required
No.
Actions already underway
The WVDE has proposed meeting with Division of Tourism and Commerce to request CLCC be included in its marketing strategy.
WVBOE response
If the WVDE continues to operate CLCC, the WVBOE encourages increased advertising and promotion efforts, and directs the WVDE to meet with Division of Tourism and Commerce to request CLCC is included in its marketing strategy.

However, if CLCC is to be marketed as a viable professional development venue for educators, additional renovations will need to be made.

Review Cedar Lakes' lodging and conference meeting fees and remove any barriers preventing CLCC from charging market rates.

Estimated cost savings
N/A
Policy change(s) required
No.
Actions already underway
N/A
WVBOE response
There are no barriers preventing CLCC from charging market rates. These rates are reviewed annually by the WVDE.

It is important to note that this facility is not comparable to a commercial hotel or motel, but it may be worthwhile to compare these rates to another education venue, such as West Virginia University's (WVU) Jackson's Mill.

Increase private donations and support for Cedar Lakes.

Estimated cost savings
N/A
Policy change(s) required
No.
Actions already underway
N/A
WVBOE response
If the WVDE continues to operate CLCC, the WVBOE calls for efforts to increase private donations and support for CLCC.