"Generally with something this important, it is made available to the public so that the board can receive input. To pass it without any type of input seems to suggest they don't care what the public thinks. This isn't happening the way it's supposed to. The draft shouldn't be released the day it's voted on," he said.
"What's in there that they don't want the public to see until the very day they deal with it? While they are a constitutional body, what they do is relative to public schools and important to the citizens of the state. They need to be transparent."
That's why the West Virginia Education Association is continuing a series of open forums to get teachers and community members in on the discussion of the report's findings.
"It raises the issue of trust. Dr. Marple was well respected throughout the state and outside of the state. With the way things happened, it appears discussions were held with her successor before they talked to her. She was never given a real reason," said WVEA President Dale Lee.
"We were all working to find places in the audit where we could move forward for the students -- including Dr. Marple. This lack of trust is going to make it even more difficult to reach an agreement and to make a difference in our public schools."
Department of Education spokeswoman Liza Cordeiro said the board has received public input on the audit in a variety of ways by gathering feedback from several groups in the education community.
Lee, Johnson and Haden agree that the intent of the audit -- to better students' education -- is being buried under the financial and administrative issues it has brought to light.
"The kids are forgotten in this whole thing, and you'll see that when you look at the audit and the response. A lot of it is just about switching money and staff," Haden said.
The audit recommends major reallocation of funding within the state's school system and estimates to save the education system up to $90 million a year.
"It appears students are being left out of this thing. At this point, in many instances, it's about money instead of student achievement, which is the focus of our forums," Lee said.
Any updates provided during the board meeting Wednesday will be incorporated into the document so that the final version can be ready for the board's presentation to state legislators next Tuesday, according to Cordeiro.
Board members who voted to fire Marple on Thursday were Wade Linger, Gayle Manchin, Bill White, Bob Dunlevy and Mike Green.Board member Lloyd Jackson attended Wednesday's board meeting, but was absent Thursday. He will be out-of-town through Thanksgiving, a spokeswoman at his office said Monday.
Reach Mackenzie Mays at mackenzie.m...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4814.