Dissolving RESA still on track, Dr. Manchin says no major changes expected

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CHARLESTON, W.Va (WDTV)- Officials say headway is being made in Charleston on the elimination of the Regional Education Service Agencies.

On Wednesday, State School Superintendent Dr. Steve Paine addressed members of the House Finance Committee, saying the process of dissolving RESAs is still set to be complete by June 30.

Last April the bill was passed by legislature, and with it came major job cuts. According to Paine, 459 RESA positions were slashed, with an additional 9 cuts from the Office of Performance Audits. Over 20 new staffers were added to the state Department of Education to cover the work.

According to a January 2017 state Legislative Auditor’s performance audit, eliminating an additional 16 RESA positions, eight executive directors and 8 chief financial officers would save the state over $1.5 million annually.

The removal of nearly 500 jobs provides a massive boost for school budgets. However, Superintendent Dr. Mark Manchin says even the budget will not see any dramatic changes.

Dr. Manchin assures this will not negatively affect the staff or students. He says all previous services will still be provided.

"I think what you are going to see is a little more input and individuals working with other individual counties and cooperative agreements to ensure that services are offered," Manchin said.

Dr. Manchin says anytime people are able to work together, it is a good thing. However, he acknowledges the job cuts were a negative component. Manchin also says any time there is transition, it can be tough.

Paine says meetings with six county superintendents were set to take place sometime this week. He is scheduled to ask them to step in as replacements for the dissolved RESA services.