CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBOE) on Wednesday approved its long-awaited “From Audit to Action: Students First” report. (http://wvde.state.wv.us/policies/audit-response.html). The board also is strongly encouraging public comment on the response. The document is in response to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s “Education Efficiency Audit of West Virginia’s Primary and Secondary Education System.”
“The board is really proud of this document because it sets the stage for meaningful change in our education culture and environment which has remained stagnant for years,” said West Virginia Board of Education President Wade Linger. “This response is not about excuses why we can’t but instead defines a clear path for student success.”
Highlights featured in the audit response include re-examining educator seniority in an effort to place the most qualified teachers in classrooms, raising the enrollment of secondary students in career and technical programs through support for a middle school pipeline, supporting whole-school incentives for student achievement, and conducting meaningful conversations about the sustainability of small county school systems.
“The board is dedicated to serious education reform which is needed if we expect to provide our schools and teachers with the tools, training and flexibility necessary for students to succeed in life and work,” Linger added. “We know that change is never easy but the board is committed to charting the path forward.”
Another significant recommendation in “From Audit to Action” is the belief that more authority and responsibility should be transferred to the local level. This is dependent on the ability of the board and the Legislature to work collaboratively to remove code regarding supervision, according to the report.
“We must move beyond the ‘this is the way it has always been done’ mentality to embrace innovative ideas, which will allow our educational system to provide students with the best teachers, best curriculum and best chance for a future,” said board Vice President Gayle Manchin.
While there are cost savings in the audit response, board members believe the monies should be reallocated to offset the cost of implementing other audit recommendations. Examples of cost savings include examining the school transportation system, the transfer of Cedar Lakes Conference Center to another agency, and creating a new classification for skilled energy specialists to save significantly on energy costs.
“We are not satisfied with our current levels of performance and progress,” said board Secretary Bob Dunlevy. “As this response states, the board’s duty is to provide ideas, direction, inspiration and supervision to make certain West Virginia students receive their fundamental constitutional right. This audit is not expected to be a blueprint for the future. However, we believe that an independent review is invaluable to discover areas of improvement, and consider this to be a good start.”
Public can offer comment on the response at http://wvde.state.wv.us/policies/audit-response.html.
For more information, contact the West Virginia Department of Education Communication Office at (304) 558-2699.
Audit to Action Highlights: