"You know that at the local level. You don't know that at the RESA level," she continued.
Linger thinks that's because the RESA have never really been adequately funded or staffed to perform the job expected of them. He said he understands Hale and others might have had "less than stellar" experiences with the agencies, but moving qualified people into those agencies will help. He also disputes the idea that RESAs have failed to perform across the board.
There are people who know how to train teachers at the department, Hale said. But shifting those employees from the department to the RESA does nothing to alleviate another concern raised in the audit: too many administrators.
"Moving members of the state department from the state department to the RESA is not solving the problem of top heaviness; it's making it worse. You're creating a larger (level) of bureaucracy," Hale said at the meeting.
Linger disagreed. Moving people from the department to an agency below the department is the definition of eliminating top-heaviness, he said.
"When you use a term like 'top heavy,' I assume it to mean Charleston. We're taking these things out of Charleston and moving them out into the field. They are by definition not at the top," Linger said Tuesday in a phone interview.
Both Hale and Linger said they appreciated hearing from one another during the meeting.
They spoke during the second meeting of a group of member of the state House of Delegates who are studying the audit. House Speaker Rick Thompson, D-Wayne, said he created the group so it could serve as a resource to legislators once the legislative session starts.
The session starts Feb. 13. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin mentioned education reform Monday in a speech following his inauguration and is expected to present something to the Legislature early in the session.