File fires back on shared servicesPublished 10:22am Thursday, January 28, 2010
By JOHN EBY
Dowagiac Daily News
Sherry File voted no Monday night as the Dowagiac Board of Education considered adopting a service consolidation plan required to be on file with the Michigan Department of Education.
“One of the goals we have been working on is to enter into agreements where possible for consolidated services among disricts, municipalities and so forth,” Superintendent Peg Stowers explained, “in order to maintain our budget. The state requires us to do that.
“While this resolution this evening does not specifically state what those shared services could be down the road, it is simply notifying the state that we agree to do as they’ve asked and have a resolution in place to examine shared services and make use of those shared services, which can provide some cost savings to our district.”
An example of a shared service which already exists would be the arrangement with Cassopolis Public Schools for access to Dowagiac’s school nurse.
“There’s a misnomer out there that shared services always save you money,” Stowers said at Patrick Hamilton Elementary School. “They don’t always. They can exceed your capacity and they’re not always possible.
“Nonetheless, the state feels that every district needs to be sure that they look at those opportunities. I think we’ve done that right along.”
“Dowagiac elects its own board members to represent it,” File said.
“The state does not need to reach into what’s going on in local business. I think it’s too bad that they waste our money.”
“A point well taken,” Stowers replied.
“I think sometimes they forget that we’re pretty smart people and can figure some of those things out. You’re right, they seem to rush to our aid with a lot of resolutions.”
President Randy Cuthbert, Mark Dobberstein, Larry Seurynck and Stacy Leversen voted for the service consolidation plan resolution.
Bill Lawrence and Michelle Helmuth were absent.
In other Jan. 25 business, the school board adopted a resolution moved by Larry Seurynck to pursue arbitration if necessary to resolve dissatisfaction with construction of the middle school tennis courts.
“We had a 3 1/2-hour conference call on Friday with all 11 parties involved and our law firm, which is Thrun out of Lansing,” Assistant Superintendent Hal Davis said. “We’re hoping that this matter can be resolved this year and that the investment of the district be protected.”
The school board approved family medical leaves for Kurt Reich of Union High School and Joan Frank of Justus Gage Elementary School.