3 county ESCs to merge July 1

The Midwest Regional Educational Service Center becomes effective July 1 after this week’s merger of the educational service centers of Logan, Hardin and Shelby counties.

Heather Neer, who currently serves as superintendent of all three agencies, has been appointed to serve in the same capacity for the new organization.

Joining her on the management team are Sara Tracey as treasurer and Keith Thomas as assistant treasurer. Mrs. Tracey is the current treasurer for Logan and Hardin county’s ESC, and Mr. Thomas is the chief financial officer for Shelby County.

The newly merged ESC will be led by an interim 15-member joint governing board consisting of all the current ESC board members in each county.

A new governing structure will be established by April 2015 as outlined by Ohio law, and in November 2015, a new board will be elected.

The board will continue to maintain existing office spaces until at least the conclusion of the 2014-15 academic year.

“It has been a long journey,” said Ms. Neer. “Each ESC board has been diligent in their analysis of the costs and benefits of a potential merger.”

The three entities have an extensive history of collaboration and for the last three years they have engaged in significant shared services, including the superintendent and treasurer positions, as well as gifted coordinator, professional development, grant development and innovative programming.

Ms. Neer further stressed the merger will not remove a director, teacher, aide or other direct service provider from his/her assignment unless requested by the individual district, and county-specific programming will continue to be supported.

The underlying goal of the merger is “to create an organization that can eventually provide a greater array of choice to its member districts while enhancing the quality of services,” according to a release.

Governing board members include:

• Logan — Dave Campbell, president; Joe McKirahan, vice president; Chuck Gamble, Janet Moore and Steve Needles

• Hardin — Larry Mouser, president; Madelyn Lowery, vice president; Tom Wingfield, Bob White and Paul Ralston

• Shelby —Ty Lotz, president; Randall Sailor, vice president; Eric Ditmer, Doug Evans and Larry Ludlow.