Hudson, Morenci discuss shared school services 2013.05.01

Written by David Green.

Representatives from Morenci’s and Hudson’s school boards discussed a variety of issues April 22 at the quarterly shared services meeting, including the future of a shared administrator.

Both districts voted in April 2010 to share the services of Dr. Michael Osborne who was already serving as Hudson’s school superintendent. The agreement was made in an effort to cut costs, with both districts paying half of Osborne’s salary and benefits.

At the meeting last week, both district representatives agreed to approach their full boards of education at their next regular meeting to discuss the future of the agreement.

Morenci’s board has had many discussions about cutting costs, said board president Scott Merillat, and one proposal is to reëvaluate the superintendent position in hopes of saving additional cash.

On the other hand, the Hudson board has discussed ending the shared superintendent agreement and paying more to have Osborne full-time.

The Shared Services committee has no authority to make decisions, but only serves as a liaison between the two school districts.

Other issues discussed at the 30-minute meeting include School of Choice matters, various cooperative efforts between the two districts, special education needs and transportation, and the shared Spanish teacher.

Next year, Morenci will need a full-time Spanish teacher, Merillat said, when second-year classes are again offered. This year the two districts are sharing a teacher who spends half of the week in each location.

If the Morenci board votes to end the shared superintendent arrangement, Merillat said, an alternative plan needs to be in place soon since the agreement would probably end with the fiscal year on June 30.

Board members have yet to approve cuts for the 2013-14 year. The district’s fund equity is expected to stand at about $108,000 to start the new year—far less than what’s needed to cover the cash shortfall that will emerge without significant cuts.

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