Audit recommends shifting authority of RESAs to state

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Audit recommends shifting authority of RESAs to state 
Ryan Quinn, Charleston Gazette-Mail

A newly publicized legislative audit recommends taking away “all autonomy and independence” from West Virginia’s eight Regional Education Service Agencies — the multi-county organizations that are supposed to aid county public school systems — and transferring the agencies’ power and employees to the state Department of Education.

Officials from RESAs, which help school systems save money by allowing them to share needed services, such as speech pathologists and other specialized employees, strongly disagreed with the audit’s conclusions.

Tuesday’s report was the latest in a line of reviews of the agencies over the years. The report did include a survey of West Virginia school superintendents; 34 out of the 55 responded, and 25 of the respondents said they felt there would be “significant adverse effects if RESAs were discontinued.”

“There is significant overlap of state involvement in RESA activities and plans,” John Sylvia, director of the Performance Evaluation and Research Division of the Legislative Auditor’s Office, told lawmakers Tuesday.

The report was presented to an interim legislative meeting of the joint standing committees on education, government organization and government operations.

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