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Editorial: Fund transition process for RESAs

From The Wheeling News-Register:

It appears Gov. Jim Justice and legislators may be aiming to get West Virginia a guest appearance on the hit television show “The Walking Dead.” Our state’s regional education service agencies may qualify for a cameo role.

Justice and most legislators seem determined to kill the state’s eight RESAs. As we have noted previously, some of them are all but worthless — but RESA 6, serving our area, provides valuable services to public schools.

Initially, the idea had been to eliminate RESAs by July 1. But an education bill moving through the House of Delegates would extend that to July 1, 2018. Theoretically, that would give county school districts time to come up with an alternative method of providing the services they get now from RESAs. Four regional advisory councils, consisting of county school superintendents, would be set up to facilitate the process.

But the additional year of life for RESAs may leave them as little more than zombies, able to do little more than stagger around like those on the popular television show.

That is because there is some question about funding RESAs for the additional year. A proposal to provide them with $2 million — much less than the $3.7 million allotted for the current year — was rejected this week.

Of course, funding questions are not over until a state budget is enacted. Some funding for RESAs needs to be included to ensure that the transition to a new system can occur.

It appears the RESA system will be killed off by legislators. That makes funding a reasonable transition process imperative.

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