Shared services with Hubbard may end in Liberty
By danny restivo
A shared-services agreement between adjoining school districts soon may end.
Rhonda Baldwin-Amorganos, Hubbard treasurer, said she notified the Liberty board of education Tuesday of her intent to resign as the Liberty schools treasurer.
Baldwin-Amorganos was hired to serve as Liberty’s treasurer in December after former Treasurer James Wilson resigned Nov. 30. The contract, which was approved by both school boards, was intended as a cost-savings effort for cash-strapped Liberty.
“I still think shared-services is a wonderful idea, but when you have a district in a position such as Liberty, you need a full-time treasurer,” she said. “I was supposed to split my time 65-35, but I was spending all my time in Liberty.”
Baldwin-Amorganos said she is employed by Hubbard schools, and her commitment is with that district. She did say she would continue serving as treasurer until Liberty found a replacement.
Liberty Superintendent Stan Watson said the district is searching for a replacement. He said the fiscal atmosphere in Liberty, coupled with a relatively new practice of public entities’ sharing services, offered challenges for both districts.
Watson said district officials have contacted the Trumbull County Educational Service Center for help finding an interim replacement.
On Jan. 23, Liberty’s state- appointed fiscal commission reviewed the shared-services agreement during a regular meeting at the high school. The committee discussed misgivings about the contract but unanimously approved it.
Kristen Rock, a parent representative on the fiscal oversight commission, said the agreement was broad and left unanswered questions about bookkeeping, maintaining balances, taxes and salaries.
“For the past year, we heard how overworked our treasurer was, and now we’re [in effect] cutting the staff,” she said.
The contract said Baldwin-Amorganos would receive $45,029 of her salary from Hubbard and $24,246 from Liberty. Watson said the agreement would save the school roughly $37,000 a year.
Paul Marshall, fiscal oversight chairman, said he still believes in shared services and isn’t opposed to trying it again with another school district. He believes both boards completed the contract hastily. Marshall said any similar arrangement should require a treasurer to spend more than 35 percent of his or her time at Liberty. He’s still confident the board of education will find another person to fill the position, though there would be challenges.
“The pool of applicants for a school district is not very big,” he said. “It’s a very demanding job, but you can find the right person. It’s going to be interesting but we will find someone.”