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Highland School Board discusses sharing with Lone Tree

RIVERSIDE — The Highland School Board discussed an operational sharing agreement with the Lone Tree School District during a work session Monday evening. The board is expected to vote on the agreement later in the month.

The Lone Tree sharing agreement wasn’t the only one Highland school board members had to evaluate. WACO School District also offered to enter into a sharing agreement for the coming school year. While the board members had been impressed with the WACO district, they seemed to lean toward sharing with the Lone Tree District. Superintendent Ken Crawford commented that WACO already shares several services with surrounding school districts.

“I think Lone Tree is the way to go, but being in the WACO meeting — it felt really good,” board member Mike Golden said. “It is great to know we have another district we can collaborate with if we need to. It is great to have that backup option, but there is a lot of stuff going on with Lone Tree that we would have to shift.”

Crawford said the Lone Tree agreement would include a 50/50 sharing of the superintendent and four other administrators.

The board also discussed Lone Tree’s proposal of a three-year sharing agreement, calling it a “solid commitment.” Just in case, the board spoke of adding a memorandum so the district could leave the three-year agreement early if needed.

During a recent meeting of the Lone Tree School Board, the sharing agreement was approved 3-2. Highland adviser and former superintendent Mike Jorgensen said with next year being an election year for school board members, and with the vote for the agreement that close, having a three year commitment has some protection.

“Having a 3-2 vote, one board member can change it, but by the same token if by the end of the first year it isn’t working, you want something in place,” he said.

He plans to write up a sample memorandum for the board to discuss during the regular meeting.

The board also discussed the impact of having a superintendent who would not be in the district full time. With Jorgensen announcing he plans to give up his role of adviser at the beginning of July, his responsibilities would shift to Crawford.

Crawford said he would be able to do the work if the people in the school district assisted him.

“It is a lot of work, but if we work together as a team, we can get it done,” he said.

The next meeting of the Highland School Board will be Monday, Jan. 14, where they will vote on the agreement.