- A legislative proposal in Illinois would allow districts to share a superintendent, with proponents saying it’s a cost-saving measure that would direct more resources into the classroom, according to WRSP.
- But some district chiefs in rural areas say it would be difficult to adequately manage more than one district, with one superintendent quoted as saying he also serves as the principal of two schools.
- The bill, which would also allow voters to decide whether to consolidate districts, cleared a committee vote and is now headed to the full state senate.
More than 10 years ago, Iowa began offering financial incentives to districts that share top officials, such as superintendents. As of last school year, more than 50 districts were taking advantage of the opportunity, which means that they save money in salaries and can also receive a $53,000 incentive from the state, according to District Administration.
The practice has also been tried in other mostly rural states. In Wyoming, one superintendent temporarily led both the Godwin Heights district and the neighboring Wyoming Public Schools, which was an interim decision which avoided the smaller Godwin Heights district consolidating with its nearby neighbor.
Some district leaders who have served in these dual roles say much of their time is spent on financial and political matters, leaving less time to build relationships with staff and community members. But an advantage of representing multiple districts, others say, is that these multi-tasking superintendents can have a stronger voice before state policymakers, particularly on issues of funding. With per-pupil funding in many states still lower than pre-recession levels, it will be interesting to watch whether other small districts try out such an arrangement.