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SCHOOLS CAN BENEFIT FROM COLLABORATION

As school board members, we are pleased to see progress in the area of collaboration. The Who Does What? Commission has raised the interest level. We'd like to share our activities in this area, too.

Inspired by Gary Orfield and Theodore Hershberg at a March 2000 Forum about improving learning for all children in our region, Linda Riley, president of the Erie County Association of School Boards, established a Task Force on Regional Collaboration and Shared Services.

The task force, of which we are co-chairwomen, has met six times.

Our goals are to investigate and increase awareness of collaborations that reduce costs, and more importantly, those that reduce the isolation and separation that builds barriers to understanding. Numerous organizations throughout the region have joined us to focus on these goals.

We found many collaborative activities already in place. A large number of them occur through the Board of Cooperative Educational Services, and others through joint school district initiatives.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been saved through these initiatives, which are reported in school budget presentations, but not generally by the news media.

We are ready to move forward with even greater energy to share our research so that collaborative models can be adapted for local use. We seek the funding to make it widely available.

Working together as a region, we can give our children the supportive environment they deserve.

ALISON HYDE
Hopevale Board of Education
BARBARA THOMPSON
East Aurora Board of Education

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