W.Va. Education Committee Exploring Realignment of Regional Education
For the past 20 months, the West Virginia Board of Education’s Commission on School District Governance and Administration has been discussing ways the state can restructure at the regional level to provide better service to the local school districts. At a meeting Thursday, members finalized their recommendations for the full board who will vote on them in November.
The creation of the commission itself came at the request of Governor Tomblin to review and suggest changes to the governing structure of the school system in West Virginia. It includes state board of education members, county superintendents and industry representatives from companies like Frontier.
The draft report is what commission members call a concept paper. They’ve come up with a concept to make the system work better and it will be up to the state board to then hammer out the details.
“Our concept is to share services regionally to decide which services are shared in which region of the state and I think the board is going to have to determine what that is,” Commission Chair and State Board of Education member Tom Campbell said after the meeting.
Those services are meant to be shared at the regional level through Regional Education Service Agencies, more commonly known as RESAs. RESAs are multi-county districts meant to provide services to the individual county school systems.
Today, RESAs do provide some services like professional development, technology support and even some shared buying of supplies to cut down on costs, but Campbell said that could be expanded even further to more areas, potentially creating more savings.
The report also recognizes that individual school districts have different needs and a realignment of those regional offices could help better serve them.
The commission plans to put out a survey next week to county administrators and RESA directors to get their opinions on the criteria they should consider when realigning those regions and will recommend a new regional map to the state Board of Education by the end of the year.