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ARIN IU Expands Partnership with RIU6 to Include Redbank Valley School District

On Monday, February 6th, the Board of Directors of the Redbank Valley School District voted to contract with Riverview Intermediate Unit 6 for business office and payroll functions as part of the IU’s shared services business model.

Riverview Intermediate Unit 6 and ARIN Intermediate Unit 28 have been working in partnership for the past two years - sharing services in Finance, Payroll, Curriculum, Communications and Driver Education Training.  By consolidating their existing services and staff, the IUs were able to save money while expanding their level of programs and services to their respective service territories. This new agreement now brings the resources and experience of those two IUs to Redbank Valley.

As education service agencies, Riverview Intermediate Unit 6 and ARIN Intermediate Unit 28 have seen many changes in the delivery of education programs and services through the years.  One of the more significant changes has been the development of new partnerships utilizing shared services that allow them to keep costs low, but continue to expand their offerings.

The new partnership with Redbank Valley School District will save money for the district, while maintaining business office and payroll functions through a proven successful relationship with Riverview IU.  The district provides education services for the areas of New Bethlehem and Hawthorn Boroughs, and the townships of Mahoning, Madison, Porter, and Redbank of both Clarion and Armstrong Counties. 

 "As a rural area with limited funding and staffing, we are looking to maintain what we have while increasing our existing partnerships, programs, and services through the most fiscally responsible means possible” said Superintendent Mike Drzewiecki.

 With the impending retirement of Redbank business manager, Jack Loughner, the school board voted on January 9th to accept a proposal for contracted services that will not only save the district money but also provide increased capacity in the critical areas of business services and payroll.  Monday’s action approving the contract now puts those changes into motion. "Redbank Valley will still have coverage for all of their business department needs," said Drzewiecki "including payroll, benefits, budget preparation and all of the other pieces involved with the management of our budgets and finances."

The shared services concept started gaining attention in the business world about twenty years ago as a way to reduce cost and streamline organizations. It was also seen as an alternative to outsourcing in that sharing services allows the partnering organizations to maintain a higher level of control and service quality than is usually available through outsourcing.

Created in 1971 by the Pennsylvania General Assembly, IUs were designed to serve as a liaison between local school districts and the state Department of Education.  IUs offer Pennsylvania school systems a high quality, cost-effective means to address functions that can be costly but are required for the successful operation of a school system. This cooperative approach results in economic savings for districts as costs are shared among the districts.