SAD 51, Yarmouth school districts seek collaboration

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CUMBERLAND — School Administrative District 51 and the Yarmouth School Department are expected to form a joint committee to explore opportunities for collaboration and cost savings.

The Cumberland-North Yarmouth School Board on June 27 unanimously approved a joint resolution to form the task force. The Yarmouth School Committee will vote later this month.

The proposed committee will include Robert Hasson and Judith Paolucci,  the superintendents, respectively, of SAD 51 and Yarmouth; the Yarmouth school business manager and SAD 51 director of finance, human resources and operations; two members of each board, and one additional staff member or resident from each district.

The committee will meet at least four times a year to explore opportunities to work together and make recommendations to the boards, which could vote on those suggestions prior to July 2012.

Hasson said last week that collaboration opportunities could include transportation, business functions, high school courses and professional development. Saving money is one of the objectives.

“(We’re) looking forward to it,” he said. “We think there’s potential there. … This (resolution) is a demonstration of the commitment to forming the task force.”

“I meet with Bob Hasson on a regular basis, anyway,” Paolucci said last week. “We sit and brainstorm about things that are going on … but we haven’t delved into anything more than kind of using each other as almost like consultants.”

In getting a larger group together, she said she hopes the two districts will review different aspects of their operations, such as payroll, transportation and contracting for different services.

“Sometimes it might not be a case that we’ll find an opportunity for collaboration, but we might learn something (from each other),” she said. “… We’re just learning to be as efficient as possible, to have the best quality programs in each place for the best possible price.”

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.