New York State school districts are currently facing unprecedented challenges which require them to address fiscal concerns while maintaining high quality services. With these challenges has come increased pressure from state officials and the public for schools to consolidate services in order to save money and improve service quality.
A study conducted by the Survey Research Institute at Cornell University, shows there are a number of reasons to share services including reduced costs, increased efficiency, improved service quality and increased student achievement. Sharing services can also provide districts with services that would otherwise not be available.
The study also noted that “rising costs, increased mandates and revenue shortfalls” have increased the need for collaborating on service delivery. In New York State, 90 percent of school districts share at least one service. The most commonly shared services include joint purchasing, special education, summer school and health insurance. However, other commonly shared services include distance learning, curriculum materials, cafeteria services, transportation services, security and youth recreation.
While fiscal concerns have been one of the driving forces in the decision to share services, Governor Cuomo’s state-imposed property tax cap initiative and tax rebate plan will put renewed pressure on public school districts to share services in the coming years. With this increased pressure on schools to curb escalating costs, sharing services across districts is needed now more than ever before.
Waiting to assist school districts with their shared services plans is CASDA’s stable of education consultants whose extensive experience and expertise as former superintendents, business officials, board members and HR personnel provide us with the capability to research, develop and implement a shared services strategy that fits a school district’s specific needs. Also, our strong connections with school districts throughout New York State means that we have the capability of bringing districts together and helping them to work collaboratively to consolidate and share services. One example of this is in Washington County where CASDA, at the request of WSWHE BOCES, conducted a shared services study in 2012. The results of the study led to the formation of the Washington County School District Collaborative, which has brought seven school districts together to share programs and resources in a cost effective and efficient manner.
To learn more about how CASDA can help maximize your school district’s performance through shared services studies, please contact Dr. Jim Butterworth at 518-512-5198 or visit www.casdany.org.