"The audit has really put the state's focus on education. Any concerted effort the board can see coming from the Legislature is certainly welcome, and we are looking forward to working with them," Linger said. "There are many, many recommendations, and several of them would require code changes, and that will never happen without this kind of attention, so we're glad to see it."
The audit outlines 56 findings and recommendations for six state-level areas: Administration, facilities, human resources, transportation, regional coordination and ancillary services such as health services, professional development and purchasing.
Some of those recommendations include improving compensation that would attract more teachers to the state, giving principals more control, streamlining administrative positions and increasing technology in the classroom.
The auditors claimed that if the recommendations are implemented, it could save more than $18.1 million in the first year and more than $115 million over five years.
Based on a sample of three county school systems, the audit predicts that the state is looking at a total of $90 million in savings if all the changes are put in place.
Thompson and House Minority Leader Tim Armstead chose the members of the work group, which include: David Perry, D-Fayette; Larry Williams, D-Preston; Randy Swartzmiller, D-Hancock; Doug Reynolds, D-Cabell; Denise Campbell, D-Randolph; Bill Anderson, R-Wood; Daryl Cowles, R-Morgan; Amanda Pasdon, R-Monongalia; and Eric Nelson, R-Kanawha.
"Education is key to moving our state forward and ensuring that our children can stay here and pursue their goals," Armstead said in a statement. "This session will provide us with an historic opportunity to improve education in our state, and I am confident that the members of this work group will put the needs of our children first and work toward making the changes necessary to achieve the best outcome for our students."
The regular legislative session begins in February.
Reach Mackenzie Mays at mackenzie.m...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4814.