Hudson, Morenci Explore Sharing Superintendent

March 11, 2010 —

Faced with rising costs, the Hudson and Morenci school boards are considering having Hudson Area Schools superintendent Dr. Michael Osborne share the duties at both schools.

Last week the two districts signed a cooperative service agreement at their respective meetings to explore the idea. A committee meeting was held at Hudson Area High School Monday evening to further explore the idea.

The concept being explored Monday was based on an agreement between two nearby school districts that share a superintendent. Several school districts in the state have similar dual superintendent positions, including Jonesville and Reading.

The concept being explored Monday was that the superintendent’s duties would be split evenly between the schools, with Osborne working “at least” forty hours a week, splitting his time and attention between the two districts at each administrative office.

When asked his opinion on whether he might be overtaxed by working for the two districts, Osborne said how well the agreement would work would depend on how well he’s supported by each of the school boards. “The first problem with shared management is usually at the top administrator level,” he observed.

Hudson and Morenci have had several shared service agreements in the past few years, especially in bookkeeping and business services, but the top job has never been a consideration. Further shared services may be under consideration in the future.

Under the agreement, Osborne would be working part time for each district.He indicated that this would allow each district to maintain its own identity, and that such a sharing would help to stave off state pressure for a more complete consolidation of the districts.

Osborne pointed out Monday evening that if approved, the measure woudl save money without harming the classroom environment.

There are approximately 1,700 students between the two districts, with Hudson being slightly larger on a 54-46 percent ratio.

Should Osborne eventually become a co-superintendent for the Hudson-Morenci school districts, it will be the second administration change Morenci has seen this year.

Morenci High School Principal Nate Parker was chosen last month as the district’s interim superintendent, temporarily filling the vacancy left by Kyle Griffith’s departure. Griffith accepted the position of principal at the Lenawee Intermediate School District and Jackson Community College’s new JCC/LISD High School Academy Alternative Program.

Since the proposal is still being explored, there was no announcement at Monday’s meeting of the exact cost savings to the two districts beyond sharing the administrator’s salary.

The target date for approving  the proposal is April 12, if an acceptable agreement can be worked out.