East Mills High School

(Malvern) -- School officials call them a lifeline for smaller districts--sharing arrangements for various positions.

At its regular meeting Wednesday evening, the East Mills School Board renewed a long list of sharing agreements with neighboring districts for next school year. East Mills Superintendent Tim Hood tells KMA News the agreements include sharing a Talented and Gifted instructor and transportation director with Fremont-Mills, a school counselor and human resources official with Red Oak, an art teacher with Riverside, and a superintendent, maintenance director, media specialist and human resources official with Sidney. East Mills will also continue to share human resources with South Page and a school nurse with Stanton. Hood says the sharing agreements mean extra state funding for school districts.

"Operational sharing, you can get up to 21 students times $7,000," said Hood. "Financially, it's a good thing with operational sharing. The rest of it is just being able to hire people--quality people--with the sharing. Instead of a half-time position, you can actually offer a full-time position, and they're able to be shared between two separate districts."

Hood says operational sharing is almost essential for smaller districts.

"They're kind of a lifeline for us in small districts," he said. "Sometimes, you don't need quote, unquote, a full-time person. As hard as it is to get quality people, sharing with someone else allows you to hire someone. So, it's been a good thing for us in Sidney, South Page and East Mills, for sure."

Hood is nearing the end of his second school year as a joint superintendent in East Mills, Sidney and South Page. While saying dealing with COVID-19 issues has multiplied the challenges of being superintendent in three districts, he still credits his staff and boards for making things work.

"It's been enjoyable for me," said Hood. "But, it doesn't work with great boards to work with, and of course, quality administrators, directors and staff, and all the people involved that allow it to work as well as it does. Obviously, we've had trying times for our students, our staff and our community, as well."

In other business, the board approved the master contract with the district's instructors for the 2021-22 school year, and a 2.94% pay increase for all staff members for next school year.

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