The departure of Dr. Holland, Superintendent of the presents an opportunity for our city to take a proactive step toward what the State of Ohio has been getting closer to mandating every day—the consolidation of services between small and mid-size school districts.
The citizens of Cuyahoga Falls would all benefit if our two school districts could mutually agree to share administrative contracts. What many in the state are actually lobbying for is the consolidation of school districts until a minimum enrollment number is reached, usually 10,000. Districts like Cuyahoga Falls and , and almost every school district sans Akron in Summit County will likely be “redistricted” until a set school population is met. Districts that have already consolidated services like Rittman and Orrville, want to show Ohio lawmakers that it is possible to consolidate administrative and service contracts, while maintaining individual identities and local control. In 2009, they claimed $200,000 in saving in a year and a half.
In fact, Cuyahoga Falls, Woodridge and four other school districts already participate in a similar consolidation of contracts and services together through the Six District Compact. Most are more familiar with the Compact as the vocational piece of what school districts do. The following is from the Compact’s website:
“The whole idea that six superintendents and six Boards of Education could agree to pool their resources, yet maintain their individual identities, was absurd. Thirty-seven years later, this Compact, comprised of Cuyahoga Falls, Hudson, Kent, Stow-Munroe Falls, Tallmadge City Schools and Woodridge Local Schools, has proven the state department of education wrong.”
It’s actually 42 years later now, adding more credence to services collaboration. In fact much of the full statement from which the above excerpt was taken would convince anyone that school district co-op’s can and do work.
Of course we can’t forget that in addition to both boards considering this idea, you would need a willing and able superintendent. One who cares about this city and both school districts enough to consider taking on the job, someone with the stamina to multi-task and the mind-set to be honest and fair. Someone with integrity, a sense of protocol and duty. Of course familiarity with each district, and its values and traditions isn’t a requirement, but it’s always a plus.
Am I shamelessly lobbying for the shared superintendence of Walter Davis? You better believe it. I think Mr. Davis is the next best thing to sliced, bread, I think the savings for both school districts is something our elected officials have a duty to at least research, and I think it’s something that we can take by the horns locally now, or wait and let the state gore us with it later.
The funding situation for schools is looking bleaker every day. I’m calling on our city’s two Boards of Education to be open to joining Orrville and Rittman in setting the example that school districts are capable of maintaining local control in addition to realizing substantial savings for taxpayers through shared services.