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AISD, City Council Look to Build Stronger Ties

Regular meetings could create efficiency, cost savings

By Mola Lenghi
|  Friday, Mar 16, 2012  |  Updated 8:13 PM CDT
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Dr. Aaron Reich believes an overlap in duties could be identified by joint school board and city council meetings.

Mola Lenghi, Arlington Journalist

Dr. Aaron Reich believes an overlap in duties could be identified by joint school board and city council meetings.

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And Arlington school board member is proposing that the city and school district build a stronger relationship.

Trustee Aaron Reich is proposing that the City Council and the Arlington Independent School District board hold two regular joint meetings.

The school district operates separately from the city.

"We're always looking to build stronger relationships," Councilwoman Kathryn Wilemon said.

Councilwoman Sheri Capehart said the proposal has great potential. She said she is intrigued by the "possibilities of shared resources -- from libraries, to public parks, to tutoring and mentoring help."

Sharing resources could mean cost savings for both the school district and the city. The two could strive for bulk-rate discounts on supplies and, as Reich noted, they could leverage their negotiating power when it comes to contract negotiations for services such as utilities.

"We have great contracts with our buying power and our size," Reich said. "I'm sure the city has good contracts. Maybe we could combine and make a larger contract."

Officials said there are more than likely things that the school district and City Council both do that they don't need to. Identifying such things could create greater efficiency.

"There has to be overlap -- there absolutely is," Reich said. "We just don't know what they are, and that's the purpose of this, so we can start vetting that out."

He said there could be legal restrictions when it comes to some initiatives, but said the way to realize what is possible is to get in the same room, work together and find out what the city and district can jointly do.

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