Breakthrough in the region

Oftentimes, residents and school board members in this area presume that superintendents cannot be shared between even the smallest of districts. Two Niagara County schools will test that assumption.

Earlier this month, the Barker and Royalton-Hartland schools agreed to a one-year trial deal to share the Barker Superintendent Roger J. Klatt starting July 1. The sharing of the superintendent was done as a cost-saving measure after the Roy-Hart school chief left to take another position.

“Each board felt that the conditions were favorable after having already entered into a number of shared initiatives for this coming year,” Klatt said in The Buffalo News this month.

With this happening in our region, it may be time for some of the smaller districts in our area to test the waters as well, especially when you consider the enrollment numbers of these two schools in Niagara County.

Combined, the Barker and Roy-Hart districts have an enrollment of more than 2,300 students. That is greater than the largest school district – Dunkirk – in the north county region. It is also a greater number than combining the enrollments of Silver Creek, Forestville and Brocton.

We also must add at this time that Niagara County is much more efficient when it comes to its school districts than our county. With a population of about 215,000 residents, Niagara County has 10 school districts – or 21,500 residents per district.

In Chautauqua County, there are 18 districts for 134,000 residents – or about 7,444 residents per district.

Just what are we thinking in allowing this maddening, unsustainable tradition to continue?