Janesville65.8°

Could school districts save money by working together?

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
February 23, 2009
— An extraordinary meeting next month will address the extraordinary problems of local school districts.

“The economy’s tough for everybody,” so why not look for ways to cooperate and save money, said DuWayne Severson, president of the Janesville School Board.


Severson has invited the presidents of some Rock County school boards to the meeting.


Severson said he’s been thinking about the idea for several months, spurred by the recent loss of thousands of jobs in the area and the country’s economic downturn.


“We need to meet the needs of our students, but at the same time we need to minimize the tax burden for our constituents,” Severson said.


Severson invited the school board presidents to a meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 12, at the Janesville district’s central office at 527 S. Franklin St., Janesville.


The presidents of the Beloit Turner, Clinton, Edgerton and Milton school boards have agreed to attend.


Others have been invited, but Severson would not name them, saying he didn’t want to put anyone on the spot.


“DuWayne contacted me and asked if I’d want to get together and see if we could talk about how districts in the area could share resources, save some money by pooling resources, and I said that sounded like a good topic of discussion, and it wouldn’t hurt for us to meet,” said Milton School Board President Rob Roy.


Purchasing is one area to discuss, Roy said, and jointly operated charter schools—something that Clinton, Edgerton and Milton already have—is another.


Severson said the presidents won’t be able to make any decisions, but they could bring ideas back to their boards and superintendents.


The meeting is open to the public, but it’s not an official meeting of any board, as long as no quorum of any of the boards attends, Severson said.


Severson did not name any particular area in which the boards might cooperate.


“Everything’s on the table,” he said.



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