LISBON - The Beaver Local school board has voted to terminate its service agreement with the Columbiana County Educational Service Center for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.
The vote by board members was unanimous at a recent special meeting.
Superintendent Kent Polen told the board he recommended the action to lower district costs and allow the district to compare rates offered by other educational service centers. The termination was necessary before year's end, when the current agreement would have been automatically renewed by the state for another two years.
"We are trying to be responsible with the taxpayers' money," Polen said. He noted the district's emergence from fiscal emergency this past February and said this step is part of a larger effort to save money.
According to Polen, services and personnel provided to the district through the county ESC will not be affected this school year, as the agreement for 2012-2013 remains intact. Those personnel include psychologist David Bertsch, gifted/talented teacher Deborah Deafenbaugh and speech pathologist Chelsea Allender, who also works in the Southern Local and East Palestine districts. The ESC also provides curriculum consultation and acts as a liaison between the district and the state.
"It's not that we're disappointed or upset with the services," Polen said. "I just want to make sure that we're getting the services that we're paying for."
For now, Polen says the district will review the options available among other ESCs in surrounding counties, such as Mahoning, Jefferson, Trumbull and Ashtabula. The board could end up choosing the county ESC again at the end of the process, he added. "We have no one designated. We're just shopping," he said.
A new agreement with any ESC must be reached by June 2013 for the 2013-2014 school year. If necessary, Polen said the district could enter into an agreement with one ESC as a primary service provider while contracting other services on an "a la carte" basis with other ESCs.