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Panel seeks W.Va. school management changes

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State education officials say a new “balanced governance” plan will redirect money back into West Virginia’s classrooms by eliminating positions in school board offices across the state and using that money to directly benefit students.

The five-year plan — proposed by the state Board of Education’s Commission on School District Governance — would make major changes to the way the state’s 55 school districts operate and hopes to allow local superintendents and school boards to focus solely on student achievement, while handing day-to-day managerial responsibilities over to the state’s eight Regional Education Service Agencies.

According to a draft of the proposal, the changes would allow school leaders, superintendents and local school boards to focus solely on student achievement and education policies.

In a meeting Tuesday, education officials pointed to a declining student population and increasingly small school districts with too many central office employees as a major obstacle to restructuring the state’s public school system.

About half of the state’s counties have fewer than 4,000 students; 14 counties have fewer than 2,000; and seven have student populations of fewer than 1,400, according to the Department of Education. But all districts — regardless of size — often employ the same number of administrators…

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