SILVER CREEK - More and more small school districts are looking to save money and maintain programs by sharing with other districts. That is the case at Silver Creek Central School.
At Wednesday's Board of Education meeting, a contract to share girls and boys track with Forestville was approved.
This is the fourth sport the district will be sharing with another district.
OBSERVER Photo by Nicole Gugino
The Silver Creek Board of Education approved a contract to share boys and girls track with Forestville at its meeting Wednesday. Pictured at left is board member Marjorie Foxton and at right is Board President Martha Howard.
Superintendent Daniel Ljiljanich explained the reason for the contract was because both schools did not have enough students to participate to make competitive teams. By sharing the program, both districts are able to maintain the offering for students.
"This gives our students the opportunity to participate instead of seeing it not offered. It is also another instance of shared services," Ljiljanich said.
He also highlighted a savings for the district in splitting transportation costs and the costs for officials and coaches.
He said the agreement still has some things to be worked out such as how often each school will host the team on its track. When asked if one would host the team to save the costs of track maintenance, Ljiljanich said that may be discussed in the future but now both districts plan to use their tracks.
In addition to the girls and boys track team, Silver Creek also shares football with Forestville and wrestling and girls swimming with Dunkirk.
Ljiljanich said the district is also looking into sharing boys swimming with Dunkirk. He said in a few weeks he will meet with Athletic Director Sean Helmer to go over the school's athletic offerings and explore opportunities for further shared services.
He said there will be a workshop for the board after that meeting for the board to see where the school is with shared services in athletics and where it would like to be in the future.
"I think a lot of people think if you can break the ice with sharing sports, you're more apt to bring the schools together," board member Irene Blakely said.
Ljiljanich said the benefits of shared services are maintaining or increasing offerings for students, even in these tough economic times.
"When you put all the different factors together - the continuation of unfunded mandates, the 2 percent tax cap, the New York state budget and the national economy - when you put all those things together, it cannot be business as usual. Here's the sad piece, school districts will become academically bankrupt before they become financially bankrupt because you can keep cutting until all you have left is the services you have to provide," he said.
Board President Martha Howard said she sees shared services as a way to help raise the bar for students by increasing offerings the district cannot provide on its own.
The board will meet again Oct. 28 for a workshop on Comprehensive School Education Plans at 6 p.m. and a meeting at 7 p.m.