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Hadley schools to outsource business management for year, discuss regionalization with Hatfield

HADLEY — The School Committee voted Monday to outsource the district’s business management operations for the remainder of the fiscal year, a move that comes as part of the continued reorganization of the schools’ central office.

But even as the board finalized its business operations for the short term, school officials cast an eye to future management options.

Interim Superintendent Donna Moyer told committee members that she met recently with Hatfield Superintendent John Robert to discuss the possibility of sharing some administrative functions. Specifically, the pair discussed the idea of hiring an individual to oversee business operations and facility functions at both districts, she said.

“It was a brainstorming session,” Moyer told the board.

School Committee Chairwoman Robie Grant said in an interview that many committee members had spoken individually with Moyer and encouraged her to explore such avenues with other districts.

Such conversations come on the heels of a report last month from the Massachusetts Association of School Business Officials, which recommended the district consider sharing business services with surrounding districts.

Grant said she would “certainly entertain” the possibility of sharing business operations with Hatfield.

“I don’t think there is a lot of enthusiasm for a full-fledged merging of the districts, but I think we’re willing to consider sharing administrative positions,” Grant said.

This year, Hadley will rely on an outside firm, Management Solutions, to conduct the district’s business operations. The firm was the sole company to submit a bid, valued at $40,500, to Hadley.

Committee members, who voted to accept the bid Monday, said hiring an outside firm for the year was more advantageous than a full-time hire because the district would get a high level of expertise without having to pay the employee’s benefits.

The move comes as part of wider reorganization of the central office. Former Superintendent Nicholas D. Young, who led the district for 11 years until June, also served as the district’s business manager. His administrative assistant, Carol Trane, also retired at the end of the school year.

Moyer’s current secretary, Dee Rex, will now have her position reorganized to become administrative assistant to the superintendent while a new 20-hour clerical assistant will be hired, Grant said. All the new moves are within budget and paid for with money previously earmarked for Young and Trane, school officials said.

In other school news, Moyer announced that Hadley schools have come to an agreement with Hampshire College to allow Hopkins Academy seniors to take one class a year at the South Amherst college. Between three to five Hopkins seniors are expected to take classes at Hampshire annually, she said.

This year’s crop of seniors will not be eligible, however, because the scheduling of the college classes requires considerable planning, Moyer said. Next year’s seniors will be eligible.

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