Photo Courtesy: Associated Press
BARKER, NY - Two districts in Niagara County that are only about 13 miles apart are planning to save money, by sharing a superintendent.
Both the Royalton Hartland School District and the Barker School District are dealing with budget problems, similar to many districts across the state.
However, these two districts are moving to share their superintendent, which isn't unheard of, it's just rare.
Roy Hart's superintendent, Kevin MacDonald, who is leaving, makes more than $146,000 a year.
Barker School District's superintendent Roger Klatt makes about $159,000. He will soon have all the responsibilities of a school superintendent - times two, when he takes the reigns of Royalton Hartland Central Schools on July 1.
Both schools say that they're pouncing on this chance to save cash that would keep some programs alive.
"I can't be in two places in one time, I understand that, but there are very competent administrations in both school districts, administrators that can be responsive," said Klatt.
School districts get millions in state and federal aid and tax dollars to pay for salaries, equipment and supplies.
The two districts are digging down deep to cut wherever they can.
School officials from both districts say the savings would net an estimated $100,000 for Barker and $75,000 for Roy Hart.
"Live it, see how it works, get to the end, evaluate it, does it make sense to keep doing it," said MacDonald.
Already making sense is a shared wrestling program between the two districts. Also some positions and programs are combined because of declining enrollment and increased costs within schools.
On the new deal, which still needs to be approved by attorneys, both districts will equally pay for the salary and benefits of one person to do two important jobs.
Both the Barker and Roy Hart school boards approved the deal Wednesday.
If the agreement gets the consent of attorneys, the deal would be good for one year, next school year. At the end of the 2013-2014 school year, both sides will come together to discuss whether the agreement should continue.