Judy Hale, president of the American Federation of Teachers, disagrees.
"It kind of makes laughable their statements that they're going to downsize the state department of education where there is all this heavy bureaucracy," she said. "You can't downsize by upsizing."
Peduto, a former Department of Education administrator, was assigned in August 2012 to help board President Wade Linger draft a response to a statewide audit of West Virginia's school system. She was officially hired by the department, but essentially served as Linger's assistant, taking his notes on the audit and using them to craft a report.
She worked on a contractual basis, and was paid $350 a day for that work. Records from the state auditor's office show that she earned $30,199 in 2012 -- working part-time from mid-August through the end of the year.
The last version of the response to the education audit was submitted in December but Peduto has remained in that position.
When the board submitted its budget proposal for 2014 to the state legislature in January, it included more than $350,000 to fund three new staff positions for the board: the director of operations job Peduto was hired for yesterday, as well as a "liaison" and a board attorney.
"I'm a little perplexed at why anyone would question the need for the state board of education to have staff," Linger said. "With the kind of responsibility the state board has under the constitution I think it's strange that the board has never had staff before."
The director of operations positions was posted in the state jobs database on Feb. 25, according to department spokesperson Liza Cordeiro. It closed at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Seven people applied for the job, and the board narrowed the field to three before its regular meeting Wednesday. Board members interviewed those three candidates in a closed session for around an hour Wednesday morning, emerging to take a vote to hire Peduto.
Contact writer Shay Maunz at shay.ma...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4886.