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Questions About W.Va. Education Bureaucracy Linger

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Bureaucracy emerged as a major culprit in the wide-ranging audit of West Virginia's education system. But Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's successful legislation focuses mostly on other targets.

The bill passed Friday by the House tackles another big audit topic: inflexible school policies. Tomblin's proposal rewrites educator hiring and transfers laws, and frees up counties to plan calendars that provide 180 days of student instruction.

But several lawmakers questioned whether the legislation preserves a top-heavy bureaucracy that deprives classrooms of needed funding. House Republicans tried without success to reduce the state Department of Education in Tomblin's bill. While that amendment failed, the vote was close.

Bill supporters say it does mandate two years' worth of personnel spending cuts. The state Board of Education, meanwhile, has sent mixed signals on the topic.

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