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SRF, B-M support keeping shared superintendent

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ST. REGIS FALLS - The Brushton-Moira and St. Regis Falls school districts decided to keep sharing a superintendent, with each school board voting unanimously in favor of the action at meetings last week.

Current Interim Shared Superintendent Beverley Ouderkirk said Tuesday the two board will discuss the search for her successor at their next joint meeting on Aug. 29.

“I think there’s certain potential to benefit from it,” she said. “We’re starting to do some pretty neat things.”

She said in working with both districts she has seen the potential for sharing different services.

Ms. Ouderkirk said she had charts constructed to show where districts have iniated shared services. There are currently nine areas, she noted, more than when she started as the shared superintendent during the 2011-12 school year.

For the upcoming school year, Ms. Ouderkirk said shared services include a business official, transportation supervisor, mechanic, food services, which are through BOCES, a CFE/CPSE/504 chairperson, French teacher, health teacher and home and consumer science teacher.

The CFE/CPSE/504 chairperson works with special education staff and students, Ms. Ouderkirk said.

Other areas to share services were explored, but some did not work out, such as sharing an athletic director, which was “not particularly supported at the state level,” she said.

“We continue to keep ourselves open to more,” she said, noting that the school districts will look into sharing more services in the future.

The two districts now have a Tandberg Unit as well, Ms. Ouderkirk said, which has technology similar to distance learning but not all of its capabilities.

She said health and possibly French classes could be transmitted between the schools. The Tandberg Unit was bought with $400,000 from a Rural Utility Services grant, which was shared with other regional schools.

At the last joint school board meeting in July, both boards were unsure of when to start a shared superintendent search.

“[Franklin-Essex-Hamilton BOCES Superintendent] Steve Schafer encouraged them to get started earlier rather than later,” Ms. Ouderkirk said of the search. “They will get word out that that’s what they’re looking for.”

She said the two boards will be anxious about the response they will receive once the position is up for grabs.

Ms. Ouderkirk said Mr. Schafer will probably be present at the next joint school board meeting at 6 p.m. Aug. 29 in the St. Regis Falls Central School library.

Her contract as shared superintendent will expire at the end of the coming school year.

Ms. Ouderkirk said she has “enjoyed the opportunity to work with both school districts.”

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