"That took a lot of us by surprise and set us into a scramble mode," Hoernemann said.
Ultimately, Wayne Township decided to remain in the co-op, but Avon still wants to investigate other options.
"This has been like when someone breaks up with you," Hoernemann said. "You start to get used to not being that boyfriend or girlfriend anymore, and then they want to get back together and you've kind of moved on. We're pretty far along the path of thinking of how we might serve our students even better than how we're already serving them."
She cautions discussions are still preliminary. If Avon were to leave the co-op, it would give the other members a year's notice.
"That's to allow other districts time to plan," Hoernemann said.
At this point, the motivation isn't to save money as much as it is to enhance service. While Hoernemann acknowledges that Avon has room to take in outside special needs students, she doesn't think they have the in-house expertise for serious cases.
Pamela DeWeese, the school board's vice president, supported that thinking.
"Taking care of a student with a traumatic brain injury is not the same as taking care of a hearing-impaired student," she said. "It's not as simple as hiring one more teacher."
Hoernemann added that any changes to Avon's special education program would not be enacted until the 2014-15 school year.