It's not a ground-breaking approach, as Liberty schools Superintendent Stan Watson claims, but the decision to share a district treasurer with Hubbard is a good step toward operating more efficiently.
Rhonda Baldwin-Amorganos, treasurer for Hubbard Schools, was appointed the interim treasurer for Liberty Schools this week. Liberty's former treasurer, James Wilson, submitted his resignation to the board in October.
Baldwin-Amorganos has served as Hubbard's treasurer since 2007. The two districts will share the cost of her salary and benefits.
The idea of shared school administrations is taking hold near and far. School districts in Trumbull and Mahoning counties are actually behind in figuring out how to share personnel, which could soon leave them shortchanged since many state and federal funding sources favor those who do.
In Wayne County, Jon Ritchie serves as superintendent of three districts - Orrville, Rittman and Southeast (not the Southeast Local School District in nearby Portage County). Also in Wayne County, Mark Dickerhoof serves as the treasurer for Orrville, Rittman and Green local schools. Ritchie and Dickerhoof point out that communication technology makes this possible, even for districts like Orrville and Rittman, which are not contiguous.
Several years ago, the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber proposed merging all school district administrations in Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana counties into three countywide bodies. Each district, school board, building principal, sports team and employee union would remain unchanged, thus protecting the important community identities and local control.
The savings, according to the Chamber, would be enough to fund post-secondary education for every graduate in the three counties who attends a local university, college or trade school.
Smaller steps, like the progressive one Liberty and Hubbard took, might be more palatable.