Read the BOE's full response here.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It was March, and Wade Linger and the other eight members of the state Board of Education decided to tackle the $750,000 elephant in the room.
Holed up at the Stonewall Resort in Lewis County, the full state board buckled down to respond to a sweeping audit of West Virginia's public education system released by the governor in January.
Over the course of two days, the board drafted a 41-page, point-by-point response to the audit, conducted by Pennsylvania-based consulting firm Public Works LLC.
The audit said West Virginia had one of the most highly regulated education systems in the country and recommended a series of major educational changes -- from what it called right-sizing the Department of Education to implementing energy savings in schools that would save millions. If fully implemented, the audit said West Virginia could save $90 million a year on its education system.
At the Stonewall retreat in March, board members detailed which of the dozens of recommendations they liked, whether the reforms required changing state code, and laid out a blueprint for how to make each of the recommendations happen.
At the two-day retreat, which cost taxpayers more than $7,670 in lodging and other expenses, the board drafted a definitive document that at least partially laid out the board's plan of action in response to the audit.
On Tuesday, the Gazette obtained the board's full response and discussion of the education audit from the Stonewall retreat, which paints the most complete picture to date about how the board plans to address the voluminous audit.
Among the board's responses:
There was just one major catch.
Despite going through the audit's 100-plus recommendations on everything from revamping purchasing policies to new strategies to retain teachers, racking up $6,000 in hotel room costs at the Stonewall Resort and paying board members $1,600 for their time, the Department of Education never released the full-fledged response they drafted, despite public and political clamoring for a response.