Only seven miles separates Millington from Vassar. Two communities sharing one big problem dealing with school budgets, and that have turned to each other for help.
"It's out of the box, we're going to see what happens," said Tom Palmer, the superintendent of both districts.
This month, both school boards agreed to share some administrative positions. Palmer will oversee both districts, and the districts will also share the same high school principal.
On Monday night, the Vassar School Board voted to pay higher stipends for both.
"The bottom line, yeah, it's a lot of work. I'm responsible for everything in two different districts," said Palmer.
Palmer will receive an additional $20,000 a year. The shared high school principal will get another $18,000 a year. The costs will be split between Vassar and Millington.
"We're all in this together. And if there's anybody that's working any harder in our school district, it's the teachers in there," said Vassar Parapro Dan Atkins.
Some question why additional money is going to administrators when teachers and support staff continue to have added work with no more pay.
"It's supposed to be about the children. Well let's do them first, not the administration first," said Vassar resident Onna Clinesmith.
Vassar School Board President Michael Kennard said Monday night he understands the concerns, but said in order for this deal to work between Vassar and Millington, the terms must be met.
"Times are changing, we're trying to change with the times. And trying not to affect our students anymore than we have to," said Kennard.
The savings of combining services are significant for the districts. Each district expects to save nearly $300,000 next year.
This deal is not final. Both Vassar and Millington School Boards say that if it doesn't work, they will go back to the drawing board next year.
Earlier this year, school officials at Vassar said they expected a near $800,000 deficit if nothing was done. Board members in Millington expected close to a $600,000 deficit.
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