Shrine, Royal Oak Schools Enter into New Partnership
Provisions in state laws help the bottom line for parochial and public schools in Royal Oak.
Royal Oak Schools, which has provided services to Shrine students with special needs for many years, is expanding the services it will provide to Shrine Schools this year, said Royal Oak Schools Superintendent Shawn Lewis-Lakin.
Shared time partnership
Provisions in state law allow students who attend private or parochial schools to be enrolled on a part-time basis in grades 1-12 in nonessential courses provided by a public school. The courses may be provided at the public school site or the non-public school site.
The way the shared time partnership works is that teachers at Shrine Schools who teach nonessential courses are Royal Oak employees for that portion of the day they teach such classes, said Lewis-Lakin.
“Shrine Schools are delighted to join in a shared time partnership with Royal Oak Schools,” said Gabrielle Erken, principal at Shrine Catholic High School and Academy. “A shared time partnership positively impacts both school districts financially, which builds a stronger educational basis for the entire community.”
Courses that are considered essential to a student’s curriculum and are not eligible include mathematics, reading, English, social studies, science writing, and history. Courses considered nonessential include advanced placement courses and many elective classes. A band, gym or German class, for example, may be considered eligible, but only if the district provides those classes to resident public school students.
Win-Win for community
Teachers win under shared time services—particularly those in specials classes such as art and music, which have been adversely affected by budget cuts—through a more efficient allocation of resources, Erken said.
Under the shared services arrangement, Royal Oak Schools is able to get fractional per pupil funding for the students at Shrine schools.
“These funds allow us to pay the staff involved in the shared services,” Lewis-Lakin said. “The accounting can get complicated, but there are established practices that guide us, and the accounting is audited at both the county and state levels.”
Both Erken and Lewis-Lakin describe the partnership a win-win situation for both Shrine Schools and Royal Oak Schools.
“It is one example of how we are seeking out partnerships in our effort to positively impact students and the community,” said Lewis-Lakin. "Partnerships such as this are yet another reason that everyone in our community – including families with children attending Shrine schools – has a stake in keeping our schools strong."
“The Knights and and Ravens have so much in common, and now, with the shared time program, even more,” said Erken.