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Albany moves ahead with academic cooperative

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GINA R. HEINE
June 25, 2010
— There’s a new “C” word among school districts.

“Cooperative” is an option for districts that have no interest in consolidation, Albany Superintendent Steve Guenther said.


The Green County school districts of Albany, Juda and Monticello are moving forward on an “academic cooperative” to share resources and expand opportunities for students.


Representatives from each of the districts met Tuesday night and agreed to pursue the idea. Each school board will review the meeting’s outcome and vote on the proposal.


If it’s approved, teams or committees would develop goals.


The co-op would “position each district to make more efficient use of limited resources as the state budget squeeze tightens in the years ahead,” according to a statement issued by the districts.


“I think we’re all kind of on the same page,” Guenther said. “We’d really like to take it to as far as we possibly can, but that’s going to take a lot of planning.”


The major theme leaders envision is offering to students “some really great” things that each district can’t do individually, he said.


For example, districts might pool resources to offer advanced placement courses or more offerings in a specific subject, he said.


Cooperation and collaboration eliminates competition, he said.


Initially, the districts will have to look at having similar schedules and calendars.


“Those are some pretty big things. That’s going to take us some time,” Guenther said.


The district representatives likely will meet in July, but the effort probably won’t move much until fall, when other staff members can provide input, he said.


The three districts involved are the best fit in terms of size and distance, he said, and all have the same vested interest of maintaining each school’s identity.


“I think it’s going to be fun,” Guenther said. “It’s got a lot of potential.”



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