Schools Sharing Services

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

You could call what's happening to school districts all over
Michigan a tough lesson in business.

"There is no new money. We have to figure out how we can continue to serve students in each of our individual districts," says Stanley Kogut, superintendent of the Ingham Intermediate School District, or ISD.

And Kogut says there's just one way to make the best of the money schools now have.

"The future is consolidation of services," he says.

That means districts will look-- and are looking-- to have one district run programs for others, cutting costs and cutting staff. That way, Kogut says, funds can stay focused on improving education.

"We need to push money into classrooms," Kogut says.

One of the big areas we'll start to see consolidation when it comes to districts in Ingham County is school buses. Already Okemos is handling bus repair for Haslett, and that's likely just the start of it."

"Right now Okemos shares a number of services. We do food services for Williamston," says Okemos Superintendent Cheryl Kreger. "We have business software we share."

Kreger says their school board is supportive of the district sharing its services. Right now, Williamston pays Okemos $25,000 a year to manage its cafeterias.

"When districts combine services, there are savings for both sides," Kreger says.

"If we did county-wide bussing, that'd save millions in the county," Kogut says.

Kogut says he understands many janitors, bus drivers and cafeteria workers are parents of students, and it's hard cutting jobs from local families. But in these times, school money needs to be spent on kids, he says, not the benefits we've grown accustomed to.

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  • by William Location: El Cerrito, CA on Nov 23, 2009 at 06:24 PM
    Let’s consider cooperative districts FIRST…districts should develop working relationships with surrounding districts and ISDs. To share staff and perhaps students, schedules would have to be coordinated. To share business office services, common software is helpful. Cooperative transportation plans can be a huge money-saver…but districts and their unions must be willing to be flexible and cooperative in order for this concept to work. More areas, including food service, purchasing, and technology hardware/software/support can be coordinated. I hope this effort is taken seriously…it’s not easy, but it’s the right thing to do, especially if it can avoid the drastic effects of full-scale district consolidation. It’s not time to go there…just yet. I hope local districts, union leadership, local boards of education and superintendents, and our legislators welcome the concept of COOPERATIVE school districts. It’s a great place to start dealing with the bleak financial picture ahead.
  • by Weed Warrior Location: Lansing MI on Nov 20, 2009 at 08:09 PM
    What the schools really need is money from the sale of weed.... yes indeed! Weed is what we need, to help the schools succeed!
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