Marnie Simons Elementary School in Hamburg

Marnie Simons Elementary School

(Hamburg) -- Hamburg school officials are expressing interest in sharing key positions with the Essex School District.

While no formal action was taken at Monday night's regular meeting, the Hamburg School Board discussed sharing a superintendent and a school business manager with Essex. Members of the Essex School Board have been exploring options with the conclusion of the previous superintendent sharing agreement with East Mills. Hamburg School Superintendent Dr. Mike Wells tells KMA News his district wants to be "good neighbors and good partners" with Essex.

"We had met before with them," said Wells. "We just had one more conversation with our board to make sure if they wanted to pursue that, we were willing. We are. We want to help Essex. We see it as a good opportunity to help Hamburg, as we look at trying to get our high school back, and trying to share teachers. So, our board is willing to move forward with it, if that's a decision that Essex makes."

Wells says sharing with Essex would benefit both districts--especially from a financial standpoint.

"With the operational sharing money, it would generate 54,000 additional dollars--so, financially, it would make sense," he said. "When we look at trying to bring our high school back, if we were able to work with Essex and share staff, it's possible to have an A-B schedule, a block schedule that on an A-day, certain teachers could teach at Hamburg, if we had a high school, and certain days they would teach at Essex. You could actually cut your staff costs in half, and also be able to offer a more attractive salary, and maybe more programs."

Essex School Board members heard presentations from both Hamburg and Red Oak school officials last month regarding sharing opportunities. Wells says it's up to Essex officials to decide what direction to go.

"For Essex, they have to do what's best for their school and their community," said Wells. "I know they've been talking with other neighboring districts about the possibility of sharing. Now that some districts have lost their superintendent, if they hire new people, that might be a direction Essex would go, as well. Now, East Mills is without a superintendent, and Clarinda. So, lots of changes for superintendents in this area. It does open some possibilities for other sharing."

Wells, however, says Hamburg could help solve some of Essex's problems.

"They've been wonderful people," he said. "We've always enjoyed working with Essex in athletics, and in the conference. Hamburg is very similar to Essex. They've had the same challenges. Hamburg has had success in meeting those challenges. We're willing to sharing the same experience."

Wells says both school boards face a short timeline in making a decision on sharing. June 30th is the state-imposed deadline for setting operational sharing agreements.