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Saranac Lake school board President Debra Lennon, left, and Lake Placid school board President Mary Dietrich lead a discussion about sharing services between the two districts at a joint board meeting Wednesday in Saranac Lake. Photo: Adirondack Enterprise <br />
Saranac Lake school board President Debra Lennon, left, and Lake Placid school board President Mary Dietrich lead a discussion about sharing services between the two districts at a joint board meeting Wednesday in Saranac Lake. Photo: Adirondack Enterprise

Schools may share, but not the top job

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Schools in Lake Placid and Saranac Lake open with vacancies in the top office this fall. And it looks as if sharing a superintendent is off the table for two school districts, at least for now.

But in a rare joint meeting this week, the school boards agreed to look into other ways they could share services.

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Reported by

Chris Knight
Adirondack Correspondent

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Both Saranac Lake and Lake Placid schools will have superintendent vacancies when the current school year ends.

In recent weeks, the two boards have been gathering information and meeting with officials from the Brushton-Moira and St. Regis Falls school districts, the only schools in the region who currently share a superintendent.

Saranac Lake’s school board president Debra Lennon says, "It's time for us now as board members to really get the discussion rolling between us."

But after roughly 20 minutes of talk Wednesday, it was clear there wasn't enough support among the two boards for sharing a superintendent, at least right now.

Some were concerned about putting additional burdens on their district’s building principals and other administrators if a superintendent was splitting time between the two districts. Others thought the prospect of being a superintendent of two districts would be a “Herculean task” that could scare away some potential applicants for the job. Some board members said the districts could find greater savings by exploring other shared services than by sharing a superintendent.

Mary Dietrich, the Lake Placid school board’s president, said the time isn’t right. "It's not that we're never going to consider it,” she said. “But we're going to go the route of finding ways to share other things."

Committees were ultimately created to look at different areas where the two districts could share services. Suggestions included sharing teachers and staff, food services, business offices and transportation services. School officials said they’d like to complete their work by the end of year so each district can incorporate any changes and potential savings into their budgets for the next school year.

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