Editorials

Until schools merge, learning to share is next best thing

First grade students at Union Elementary School in Belleville District 118 line up for lunch in 2014.
First grade students at Union Elementary School in Belleville District 118 line up for lunch in 2014. dholtman@bnd.com

First Belleville High School District 201 figures out that it can save as much as $500,000 by running its own school bus system and offer service to the grade schools, saving them money.

Then the high school district figures out it can save as much as $250,000 by buying meals from the Belleville Elementary District 118’s food program, which makes the elementary district’s food operation more efficient.

“We’re always looking for ways to partner and share services that would be more efficient and effective,” Belleville 118 Superintendent Matt Klosterman said.

Still, it’s hard not to see the accelerating chain of events: State fails to return the taxes collected to run schools to the schools; schools fail to get new money through a penny sales tax; within months we see creative ways to combine common operations across school district lines.

There’s even talk about consolidating some of the 27 school districts in St. Clair County. The state offers incentives and encouragement for that move, and the county certainly can get by with about half as many districts as it has if same-sized neighbor Madison County can handle students with 13 districts.

Until then, reaching across district lines to share services and cooperate on common needs is a smart move that our battered taxpayers should welcome and appreciate.

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