(02/10/2006)
The state school board has directed state schools Superintendent Steve Paine to investigate the Beckley-based Regional Education Service Agency (RESA).

Audit reports say that over one million dollars has disappeared from the agency over the past five years.

State Board members have asked Paine to appoint someone to oversee the agency's finances.

The state board has taken over mismanaged county school systems, but a critic pointed out, this is getting close to "taking over themselves."

State and federal investigators are also looking into the agency, which serves McDowell, Mercer, Monroe, Raleigh, Summers and Wyoming counties.

Mercer County Schools Superintendent Deborah Akers reportedly initiated the investigation.

Akers says the agency's executive secretary, Deborah Calhoun Mitchell, has resigned.

McDowell County Superintendent Mark Manchin has told media sources that it appears some corporations were created and invoices generated.

Manchin said payments from the agency were then sent to post office boxes.


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