14 Jul School Districts Working on Plan to Share Services (ME)July 14, 2010
By: Erin RhodaSource: Morning Sentinel
A Somerset County school district is working toward a plan to save money by sharing services with a nearby district in Franklin County.
Anson-based School Administrative District 74 board members took a "first major step" last week when they voted unanimously to develop a contract to share a neighboring district’s special education director, Superintendent Ken Coville said.
If the contract is approved, it would be the first time the two districts shared a position and would save both SAD 74 and Phillips-based SAD 58 $40,000 each per year, Coville said. It might also be the starting point for more shared service agreements in the future.
The district is bracing for mid-year curtailments in state subsidy, Coville said. Although the state has not specified dollar amounts, the announcement to expect the cuts was made to school districts at the end of June.< ;br />
Over the next month, Coville and SAD 58’s Superintendent Quenten Clark will develop a contract to split the special education director position. It would detail the financial arrangement and the time committment and duties expected from the shared position.
The SAD 74 board is expected to vote on the contract at its board meeting Wednesday, Aug. 4.
SAD 74 had shared a special education director with Bingham-based SAD 13 for two years but terminated that agreement effective June 30. And its special education director, Patrick Willihan, who had worked with the district about 10 years, retired this year.
The districts anticipate sharing the time of Laureen Olsen, SAD 58’s current special education director.
Although the vote has not yet come before the SAD 58 board, "I don’t think there will be any problem because we’re all looking to share what we can and try to save some revenue," said that district’s chairman, Mike Pond.
SAD 58’s next board meeting is Thursday, July 15.
Representatives of the respective school boards have met over the past few months to discuss ways to develop cost sharing agreements and other partnerships, Coville said.
They asked that the meetings only include board members, and not superintendents, in order to get to know each other on a more relaxed basis, Coville said, before they begin any discussion of more formal matters, such as contractual negotiations. Now, the superintendents will join the meetings.