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Shared Services in School Districts Policies, Practices and Recommendations

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Presentation on theme: "Shared Services in School Districts Policies, Practices and Recommendations"— Presentation transcript:

1 Shared Services in School Districts Policies, Practices and Recommendations

2 Shared Services in School Districts Definition Shared Services – Collaborative arrangement between or among – Two or more school boards School board(s) and one or more public/private entities

3 Shared Services in School Districts Methods/Components of Research Focus on four counties: Bergen, Burlington, Essex and Somerset Selection based on diverse characteristics of counties and their school districts. –Geographic location –Demographics –Land area/population –Number of school districts.

4 Shared Services in School Districts Methods/Components of Research 1.Survey of school districts (41% return) Enrollment, budget, facilities Budget approvals Policies/procedures on shared services Shared service activities Reasons for entering agreements Costs/benefits Method to calculate savings Rejected proposals/reasons

5 Shared Services in School Districts Methods/Components of Research 2. Follow-up Interviews Why districts enter into shared services (or why not) School administrators in Bergen, Burlington, Essex and Somerset counties. County superintendents and other local school district administrators statewide.

6 Shared Services in School Districts Methods/Components of Research Identification and analysis of pertinent statute, regulation and practice, including - Interlocal Services Act (1973) REAP and REDI program SHARE grants P.L.2007, c.63 — Uniform Shared Services & Consolidation Act — Executive County Superintendents N.J. Statutes Annotated, Titles 18A and 40A New Jersey Administrative Code, Chapters 6 and 6A DOE and DCA practice

7 Shared Services in School Districts Findings: Shared services structures Regional and statewide entities –Educational Services Commissions –Special Services School Districts –Jointure Commissions –Insurance Funds, Groups Locally initiated agreements (a) among school districts or (b) among school districts and municipalities, counties or other public entities

8 Shared Services in School Districts Findings: Types of Activities School and municipal –Athletic fields, recreational facilities, administrative offices –Maintenance –Cable, computer networks, telecommunications School only –Special education –Transportation –Financial services –Administrative staff

9 Shared Services in School Districts Findings: Extent and Type 97% of school boards engage in shared services. Most frequent: 1.Pupil transportation 2.Insurance 3.Supplies 4.Special education classes/related services Least frequent: Security, health, textbooks Findings consistent throughout socio-economic status, grade configuration and enrollment size.

10 Shared Services in School Districts Findings: Why schools share services Reasons for entering shared service arrangements 83% - sought savings 14% - encouraged by DOE (county ed. office) Benefits of shared services 79% - savings 36% - improved service 12% - reduce workload/eliminate duplication 10% - secure otherwise unavailable product/service 10% - convenience 2% - compliance with law

11 Shared Services in School Districts State of the Law Interlocal Services Act (1973) and Uniform Shared Services and Consolidation Act (2007) –2007 law repealed or revised several sections of Interlocal act and other shared service laws as they applied to schools REAP/REDI program and SHARE Grants Executive County Superintendent Act –Review/approval of proposed budgets based on efficiencies, including shared services

12 Shared Services in School Districts State of Law: Discouraging Shared Services Uniform Shared Services and Consolidation Act (2007) –May remove authorization for many shared services related to schools – including sharing administrators. –Stands alongside Executive County Superintendent’s role in promoting shared services. –Requires schools to make costly “terminal leave payment” to employees terminated due to a shared service arrangement with municipality or other civil service employer.

13 Shared Services in School Districts State of Law: Discouraging Shared Services Uniform Act (2007) – continued –New education jointure commissions not allowed; gives DCA, not DOE, jurisdiction over existing units. –Unclear if DOE or DCA has oversight of other shared services involving schools

14 Shared Services in School Districts State of Law: Discouraging Shared Services SHARE Grants –Under DCA interpretation, schools receive grants only when the arrangement involves a municipal government.

15 Shared Services in School Districts State of Law: Discouraging Shared Services Shared School Business Administrators –Cumbersome DOE process to carry out 1996 law –2007 Uniform Act may disallow sharing of business administrators through interlocal agreements –Sub-contracting of business administrator services may be only viable option –Limiting districts’ options was not Legislature’s intent.

16 Shared Services in School Districts Other Impediments Misperception about staff requirements for distance learning programs Interpretation of special education “Least Restrictive Environment” requirement, which would limit the placement of students in ESCs, jointures and programs operated by other school districts Requirement for commissioner approval of joint facilities, transportation and examinations Home rule Inexperience at local level DOE lack of focus

17 Shared Services in School Districts Recommendations 1.A single clear policy statement on shared services by DOE and DCA. 2.Clarification (a) that school board activities are authorized as shared services under the Uniform Shared Services and Consolidation Act of 2007 and (b) that school-only shared services are eligible for SHARE grants. 3.Support from DOE’s county offices, including more comprehensive data collection and the brokering of new shared service arrangements.

18 Shared Services in School Districts Recommendations 4.A simplified review process for school districts that propose to share school business administrators under the 1996 shared administrator law. 5.Retain jurisdiction for jointure commissions within the state Department of Education 6.Eliminate terminal leave payment requirement when districts share services with civil service employers.

19 Shared Services in School Districts Recommendations 7.Clarify that the special education “Least Restrictive Environment” requirement may be satisfied through an educational services commission or jointure. 8.Require that school boards include the costs and savings of shared services in proposed budgets. 9.Clarify that certified staff are not needed to supervise pupils during distance learning. 10. Eliminate need for commissioner approval of collaborative efforts involving facilities, transportation and examinations.

20 Shared Services in School Districts Policies, Practices and Recommendations


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