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Educators voice opinions at education audit forum

Nov. 08, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Deborah Lett has been a school bus driver in Putnam County for 20 years, so she has seen her fair share of change within the system.

That's why it was important to her to participate in a discussion about West Virginia's Education Efficiency Audit on Wednesday night at Huntington High School.

The event was hosted by the West Virginia Education Association, which will submit a report based on responses the union receives from its members during six more discussions throughout the state said Kym Randolph, spokeswoman for WVEA.

"We hope participants feel like they are finding their voice when they come to these discussions," Randolph said. "We want to know what they think will help in developing a response to the recommendations made in the audit. These are the people who will be most impacted by the changes, and they have to have the chance to speak out."

Findings of the $750,000 study, commissioned by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, were released in January in a 151-page report submitted by the consulting firms Public Works LLC and MGT.

The report, titled "Education Efficiency Audit of West Virginia's Primary and Secondary Education System," contained more than 100 recommendations the consultants said would improve student achievement as well as save the state $90 million a year.

Randolph said WVEA's forums will be similar to events hosted by the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce and Vision Shared, a public-private economic development effort.

Local board of education members and legislators also attended the event and participated in the discussion.

She said she and other WVEA officials hope to complete their response to the audit before Christmas. The meetings will take place throughout November.

As for Lett, she said she is hoping her concerns will be heard.

"I am always concerned when we are given these new guidelines to try out, and I always come out to see and talk about how it will affect me and my coworkers," Lett said. "I do like these meetings because I think it's important for us to get together to hopefully have our voices be heard on the state level."

Other forums are scheduled Nov. 13 in Fairmont and Martinsburg, Nov. 14 in Elkins, Nov. 26 in Wheeling, Nov. 29 in Parkersburg and Nov. 30 in Princeton.

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