COTTONWOOD - Cottonwood-Oak Creek and Mingus Union school districts are currently studying the feasibility of sharing certain office and administration positions. But both districts' governing boards have voted to share a director of special education and an IEP (Individual Education Plan) specialist beginning with the 2012-2013 school year.
The C-OC board voted Tuesday night to approve the shared positions. The Mingus board approved the arrangement Feb. 9.
During a joint board meeting in January, C-OC Superintendent Barbara U'Ren and MUHS Superintendent Tim Foist explained that they had met and were in agreement that the two positions could be shared. In addition, they told the joint boards that sharing the special education positions would bring a more coordinated professional staff to both districts.
During discussion Tuesday night, U'Ren said they would expect the director to look at the special education needs of both districts.
"Are there any downsides to having a shared director?" asked board member Jason Finger.
"The down side would be answering to two superintendents," U'Ren said. She explained that she does not see that as being a significant problem.
Finger said he does like the idea of the continuity that a single special education director and IEP specialist would provide for students and families from middle school to high school.
U'Ren said the special education director should be the one responsible for hiring the IEP specialist. She said the director would know best what the children needed.
Finger also asked if by sharing these positions the districts would be adding an extra layer of administration.
"I would say no," U'Ren said. She said it will be one position for two districts.
"Will we be sharing equally?" asked board member Janice Rollins.
U'Ren explained that the director will go where needed. She emphasized that both the director and IEP specialist would put their time where it was most needed.
"We're trying to bring these two programs together," said board president Randall Garrison.