Wallace, who has worked on all levels of education administration, said the problem with West Virginia's public school system isn't spending. Public education funding already accounts for roughly half of the state's $4 billion general revenue budget.
Wallace said increasing communication between teachers at all levels of education would lead to better-prepared students.
Effective spending is critical for making more efficient and productive public and higher education systems, said Delegate Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha.
Armstead, who is minority leader of the House of Delegates, said nothing should be off the table when it comes to revising education.
Noting that higher education would not be exempt from the governor's anticipated 7.5 percent budget cut for the next fiscal year, Armstead said the resulting spending scrutiny should help combine the goals of higher education with those of elementary and secondary education.
"If you look at those more seamlessly, then you can prioritize what you're going to put that money toward," Armstead said.
It's going to take more communication from educators to gauge whether students are prepared for whatever they choose to do after high school, Tomblin said. He said that includes taking a closer look at career and technical education programs. Phares and the board have discussed the importance of promoting these programs as well.
Tomblin, Armstead and other legislators did not go into detail about proposed legislation aimed at reforms. But panel members discussed other audit recommendations that have received attention, including teacher preparation and alternative certification.
All of the panelists said West Virginia is producing enough high-quality teachers, but they disagreed about how to staff classrooms with the most qualified teachers. Wallace thinks the state needs to be more open to alternative certification programs, like Troops to Teachers or Teach For America.
Teachers unions typically oppose changes to certification; Haney said there are already seven routes to alternative certification in the state and increasing teacher salaries is the real key to retaining and recruiting high-quality instructors. The governor already has said pay raises for public employees are unlikely this year.
Phares said he needed to learn more about alternative certification programs but agreed the state needed to find a way to make it easier to keep high-quality teachers in the state.
During the board's regular meeting next Wednesday, it is scheduled to discuss its "call to action" - the items Phares and the board believe are key to education reform.
Tomblin intends to propose an education reform package within the first 10 days of the legislative session.