DIXFIELD – The SAD 21 board voted unanimously to share the district’s building, grounds and transportation director with neighboring SAD 43.

The move, made at Monday’s board meeting, marks the first time the job will be shared, and is a continuation of cooperative efforts between the districts.

Kenny Robbins has been with SAD 21 for more than 20 years, the last four as director of buildings, grounds and transportation. He holds a similar job to one that was held by his father, Oscar Robbins, for years.

Superintendent Tom Ward said the combined job is a move in the right direction to cut costs, and to increase ways the districts can work together.

He said Robbins will have offices in both districts. He’ll spend 55 percent of his time at SAD 43 and the rest at SAD 21. The Dixfield-based district will employ Robbins and pay his salary and benefits. SAD 43 will be billed for its share of the costs. Robbins will make $62,000 annually, up from $56,378. Ward said the new salary is the average for the position with 2,500 students, the enrollment of the two districts.

Most SAD 43 directors approved the plan at a meeting April 7.

Ward said the districts will give the position a try for one year. If it doesn’t work, then an assistant building, grounds and transportation director may be needed.

SAD 43’s buildings, grounds and transportation director, Tom Sinclair, will be reassigned as head custodian in Rumford.

Ward said another cooperative venture between the districts includes sharing an occupational therapist. SAD 43 holds that person’s contract, and bills SAD 21 for its share of costs. Also, SAD 21 pays for an educational technician at the Pennacook Learning Center in SAD 43. In return, SAD 21 sends four pupils to the specialty school.

As other jobs are vacated, Ward said his district will look into the possibility of sharing those as well. And if a regional school unit is formed between SADs 43, 39 and 21, then other cooperative efforts will be put into place.

“We want to collaborate and be creative,” he said.

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