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School boards say no to shared superintendent

Districts will explore sharing other services

The Lake Placid and Saranac Lake school boards meet.

The Lake Placid and Saranac Lake school boards meet. Photo by Andy Flynn.

— Members of the Saranac Lake and Lake Placid school boards Wednesday, Sept. 5 decided against sharing a school superintendent but agreed to look at sharing other services in the future.

Both boards are preparing to choose replacements for SLCS Superintendent Gerald Goldman and LPCS Superintendent Randy Richards — who will be leaving their jobs at the end of the 2012-13 school year — and they were seriously considering hiring a shared superintendent, with the overall goal to save money.

But at their joint meeting in the Petrova Middle School library, there was a lot of head nodding as board members said sharing a superintendent now is premature. All districts are currently faced with several state mandates — including the Annual Professional Performance Review (teacher and principal evaluations) — which are sending district officials into “unchartered territory,” as SLCS Board Vice President Clyde Baker called it.

“We’re not really sure how this is going to pan out,” Baker said. “I may be a little apprehensive about jumping into something without everything answered already.”

In August, both boards invited guests to help them understand how a shared superintendent would affect the districts. Franklin-Essex-Hamilton Board of Cooperative Educational Services Superintendent Steve Shafer, Brushton-Moira School Board President Dennis Egan, and St. Regis Falls School Board Vice President Tom O'Bryan attended the Aug. 23 SLCS meeting, with Lake Placid School Board members in the audience. And Beverly Ouderkirk – interim superintendent of the Brushton-Moira and St. Regis Falls school districts for the 2011-12 school year – sat down with each school board separately to put the shared superintendent prospect into perspective.

SLCS Board President Debra Lennon Heard said Ouderkirk told them that principals take on a more important role in running their buildings and while a shared superintendent is away visiting the neighboring school district.

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