Vassar and Millington discuss sharing services to save money - WNEM TV 5

Vassar and Millington discuss sharing services to save money

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VASSAR, MI (WNEM) -

Seven miles separates Millington from Vassar, but both communities share the same story in that their school districts are struggling financially.

"Typically, you wouldn't ever think of doing (it), but it is a means for both districts to save income and keep the cost expenditures from hitting the classroom," said Superintendent Tom Palmer.

Vassar is facing a $800,000 deficit going into next year. Millington is more than $600,000 in the hole. These are two districts that are already working at a bare-bones level. On Tuesday night, they discussed a plan with parents, which calls for sharing some services between the two districts.

"As two independent school districts with a common purpose, I think that's the way we need to go," said a board member with the Vassar School District. 

The districts already share the same superintendent. Palmer took over both districts when Millington's superintendent stepped down for personal reasons. It has worked so well, district leaders are now considering doing the same with the high school principal, sharing counselors and some other positions.

"Between the two districts, we've saved about $300,000 a piece in doing this," said Palmer.

But the move is getting mixed reviews.

"Fourteen-hundred kids is too many for a principal to be principal of," said resident Joann Helmbold.

"As long as we keep the best interest of the kids in mind, that's what we need to do," said Jessi Sexton, who has three kids who go to Vassar.

But leaders said it's a move that will keep Vassar the Vulcans and Millington the Cardinals.

"This is only about sharing of services, not about consolidation of districts by any means," said Palmer.

State funding and declining enrollment are blamed for this move. 

The Millington School Board has already voted yes to the plan. Vassar will vote on it at its board meeting on Monday.

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