Perhaps it is a sad commentary on how it takes government way too long to accomplish seemingly simple things, or perhaps it is a testament to the wisdom of taking action only after due deliberation — the governmental equivalent of measuring twice and cutting once. Whichever, it is taking longer than we expected to do something that seemed so perfectly logical when it was proposed a couple of weeks ago.
It is the proposal that the neighboring local school districts of Hubbard and Liberty share a school treasurer, a position that each must fill by law with a certified professional. But no law says they can’t share a person — and share the cost.
For Hubbard, the proposed deal represents an oppportunity to save money. For Liberty, the issue is a bit more critical. Its interim treasurer, James Wilson, stepped down Nov. 30. The Liberty board needs a treasurer and has already voted to approve a shared-services contract with Hubbard for the services of Rhonda Baldwin-Amorganos, the Hubbard treasurer. However, while the Liberty board approved the deal, the Ohio Department of Education’s fiscal oversight commission that controls what Liberty can and cannot do says it needs more time before it gives its approval.
And Wednesday, the Hubbard Board of Education tabled the shared-service contract until some questions can be answered by legal counsel.
Getting it right
These do not strike us as unreasonable delays, given that the boards of education are plowing new ground And certainly, if what Liberty and Hubbard are doing has the potential to serve as a model for other school districts, they’ll want to get the model right.
But the economic benefits are so clear in this day and age that we cannot imagine any questions will be able to be answered to the satisfaction of both boards and the fiscal oversight commission.
The envisioned contract would allow for Baldwin-Amorganos to continue to serve as Hubbard’s treasurer, but she would receive 65 percent of her pay (about $45,000) from Hubbard and 35 percent (about $24,000) from Liberty. Liberty had paid its interim treasurer $65,000.
This is not only a win-win for these two school districts, but it serves as an example for other government entities — not just school districts — on how to maximize efficiency and save money.
It is not surprising that it is going to take a while longer to work out some of the details. It is more surprising that it took so long for two school districts to come up with an idea that makes such perfect sense. Both districts deserve credit for breaking new ground.