Our View: When working together makes cents
May 22, 2012
A plan to have the Steamboat Springs School District oversee all of the South Routt School District's technology needs beginning next school year serves as a model for the efficiencies Routt County's public schools can achieve through collaboration.
We're on record as advocating for serious consideration of consolidating the county's three public school districts, and the agreement struck between Steamboat and South Routt schools is an example of why.
On Monday, the Steamboat Springs School Board unanimously signed off on a $97,000 contract with the South Routt School District to manage the smaller district's technology needs. The agreement will allow Steamboat to hire another technology staff member to float between the two districts and address long-term technology projects. Steamboat also will hire a full-time technology staffer to work solely in South Routt. Tim Miles, Steamboat's technology director, will continue to work in South Routt schools one day a week.
Steamboat benefits because it gets to grow its staff and have more people available to address technology needs. Soroco benefits from having access to a larger technology staff as well as the expertise of professionals like Miles. By combining their resources, both districts win through increased buying power for software and other technology purchases. Finally, taxpayers win because their school districts have the opportunity to accomplish more despite spending less.
South Routt Superintendent Scott Mader hit the nail on the head when he told the Steamboat Today that this sort of partnership opens the door to all kinds of other possibilities.
"If this works, who knows what other services we might be able to consolidate with Steamboat," Mader said. "I think that as small districts, we've got to think in that direction to save money and to get the best service we possibly can."
Short of actual consolidation of school districts, increased collaboration and sharing of resources is exactly the right approach for Routt County's schools. The Hayden School District is doing something similar with a transportation agreement it has with the Moffat County School District to provide vehicle maintenance and driver training.
"Our frame of mind over here is basically we're open to ideas that will help save money, that will be more efficient, but not reduce the services we're able to provide," Hayden Superintendent Mike Luppes said.
We couldn't have said it better, and we're pleased to see our three school districts taking more steps in that direction. Let's hope these are the first of many future collaborations.