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Reporting on the state of education in your community and across the country.

Lake, Geauga Co. Educational Service Centers To Consolidate By 2020

[GUNDAM_Ai / Shutterstock]
An empty classroom with several desks and blue chairs

The governing bodies of Geauga and Lake County schools will merge at the beginning of next year. Officials say the decision will save the schools money by pooling resources and staff.

Both counties’ schools are managed by educational service centers that provide administrative and operational assistance to local districts.

The new board of the Educational Service Center of the Western Reserve will include five representatives from Lake County and four from Geauga County.

Jennifer Felker has been dual superintendent for Geauga and Lake County’s service centers for about a year. Prior to that, she was superintendent for Geauga County.

Felker says Geauga’s educational service center is one of the smallest in the state and will benefit from shared resources with the larger Lake County.

She points to the costs of special education programs as an example of the benefits of consolidation.

"Sharing resources and administrative support, in addition to classroom structures, and offering professional development to the staff of the schools is definitely a cost-saving measure," she said.

Felker says some consolidation has already saved the districts money by allowing them to share staff, including her own position as superintendent for both educational service centers.

“Our decision has been a long time coming, but it’s also to strengthen the supports educationally for both counties," she said.

The districts hope to consolidate by Jan. 1.