CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Board of Education on Tuesday detailed significant reform highlighted in the recently released “From Audit to Action: Students First” for a West Virginia legislative interim education subcommittee. The document is in response to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s “Education Efficiency Audit of West Virginia’s Primary and Secondary Education System.”
“There is no one on the West Virginia Board of Education who is satisfied with the current level of student achievement in our state,” said West Virginia Board of Education President Wade Linger. “We are willing to step up and take bold steps as outlined in our audit response. This audit response highlights meaningful change in our education culture and environment, and defines a clear path for student success. We know that the board can only be successful if we work together with lawmakers and look forward to that opportunity.”
For example, a 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.
“We agree with most of the recommendations made in the Governor’s audit document,” Linger said. “Just a small sampling will easily net savings of nearly $17 million per year. These savings are only the beginning of opportunities found in the audit and supported by the board. The board believes that the savings can be used for other recommendations detailed in its audit response like incentives for whole-schools.”
Examples of projected cost savings include reforming the school transportation system at a savings of $2.7 million, creating a new classification for skilled energy specialists to save approximately $6 million, examining professional development at a savings of $2.2 million, and visiting RESA purchasing plans and the E-rate process at a savings of $5.9 million.
Other 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, and conducting meaningful conversations about the sustainability of small county school systems.
The board will meet in December to prioritize immediate actions listed in the audit response. The public can review and 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.