Licking County News

Southwest Licking School District

Board discusses shared services with Licking Heights


The Southwest Licking and Licking Heights school districts might soon be sharing more positions than just a food service director, said Robert Jennell, Southwest Licking superintendent.

During a school board meeting Thursday, March 20, Jennell said he and Licking Heights Superintendent Philip Wagner have discussed a grant-funded shared services feasibility study to determine which administrative and staff positions could reasonably be shared between the two districts.

Currently, the districts share a food service director and Jennell and Wagner discussed the benefits of sharing more employees.

"It was liked by both districts, very much so," Jennell said.

"The districts have to dance the fine line of sharing," Jennell said. "There is that Licking Heights and Southwest Licking battle on the field."

He said parents want each district to maintain their identities. "Sometimes they think we're going to consolidate," said Jennell, adding that's not what he and Wagner have in mind.

But, "the more we can share, the better," he said.

Jennell said he and Wagner will meet again and specifically determine which positions could be shared and what the rules would be behind the sharing.

"We'll get some job descriptions together," and then ask for the board's ideas, Jennell said.

"There may be some more positions we can share and both districts could benefit, and not have the full price of hiring new administrators and personnel."

Jennell said a list of potential shared positions is still "in the making," and it might be a little while until an actual list is ready.

Treasurer Richard Jones was clear the district is not paying for the shared services feasibility study out the SWL's general fund. A state Local Government Initiatives grant is covering the cost.

School Board President Don Huber said a meeting between the Licking Heights and SWL school boards is long overdue.

"We haven't had one in a while," Huber said. "As this comes to fruition, I think a joint board meeting would be very helpful."


Other matters

In other news from the March 20 meeting, Jennell said he plans for the district to have a booth at the upcoming West Licking Fire Association's Pataskala Street Fair this summer.

Last year, the district sponsored a tent, which Jennell thought was a very effective means for the public to interact with school district personnel.

"It was great camaraderie and a chance to get our message out," he said.

Huber said he manned the tent last year for two nights.

"It would take me a month or more to have as many conversations as I had in two nights," he said.