As the new governor and legislators look for ways to slash costs to balance the $400 million dollar budget deficit, an agency that trains educators, firefighters, EMS, and thousands more professionals statewide is in jeopardy.
The best way to describe how the Regional Educational Services Agencies or RESA, impacts our community is by looking into the hallways of our schools.
Everything from the computers and routers, paper, science kits, food services, substitute teachers, and special training for teachers, bus drivers, and principals, even down to the paychecks, are all provided by or affected by RESA.
There are 8 RESAS working across the state to provide low cost professional training across the state they trained a quarter of a million community servants in West Virginia.
In the Northern Panhandle alone, RESA trained 10,000 teachers and principals and 35,000 statewide.
Executive Director Nick Zervos explained that RESA’s receive 3.6 million dollars from the state but return that investment by millions. He said he understands the needs for cuts, but added cutting a service agency is not the place to start.
“Stay the course be selective when you make your cuts those agencies that are helping you with a return on investment that help balance the budget, and help counties stay out of the red, ought to be recognized and duplicated, not cut,” said Zervos.
Last year, RESA provided academic activities for over 4,000 students and hearing services for over 9,000 students.
Because none of these cuts are set in stone, if you would like to do something, Zervos suggests calling our local legislators before they begin the legislative session in Charleston.