By Jeff Jenkins
The state Board of Education decided Wednesday to put out for public comment a report looking at the future of the state’s 55 school districts.
The board’s School District Governance and Administration Commission recently completed its report that recommends keeping all county school districts but using regional education offices to combine some services. Commission chairman and state school board member Tom Campbell said the money saved would be redirected toward boosting student achievement.
“To help the district focus on student instruction and those functions which can be handled regionally in support of the district,” Campbell said.
Campbell said some counties could share school board attorneys, financial personnel, transportation issues. He said the recommendations promote partnerships instead of mandates.
“It’s not designed to say, ‘This is what we’re going to do and you must do it,'” Campbell said. “But working with the districts to see what can we do to help them do two things, help them save some money and redirect that money and that time into the classroom.”
The state Board of Education put the report out for a 30-day comment period during its Wednesday meeting at Mingo Central High School.
To comment on the report, go here: http://wvde.state.wv.us/policies/district-governance-report.html
Campbell said the biggest obstacle to combining various school districts are excess levies that vary from county to county.
“There are counties that have 100 percent levies, some have 50 (percent), some have 25 (percent) and some have none,” he said. “That disparity would make it very difficult.”
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin made the original request last year for the board to study the school governance issue.