Schools seeking shared services $


By Jim Poole

Local schools will seek a state grant to study sharing services among the fourth northern Schoharie County districts.
Cobleskill-Richmondville Superintendent Lynn Macan said last week that C-R, Schoharie, Middleburgh and Sharon Springs are the most likely candidates to share services, with the idea of saving money.
Ms. Macan said the four will likely apply for a $50,000 Local Government Efficiency Grant that would look at possibly sharing transportation, food services and business office duties.
The study will not consider merging districts, she said.
However, sharing non-instructional services may help in a time when districts are looking to save any place they can.
And although the study would target busing, cafeterias and business offices, it may cover other ground, Ms. Macan said.
“It may tell us something we haven’t considered,” she said. “I do think there’s probably potential for savings.”
If the study produces results, the districts could get funds for implementing sharing––up to $200,000 per district.
The districts already share some services, especially in special education and transporting students for special programs.
And officials from all four have met several times to discuss further sharing, according to Schoharie Superintendent Brian Sherman.
He’s expecting to hear word this week on a grant under the Shared Scholars Program, which is a cooperative effort between Schoharie, C-R, Middleburgh, BOCES and SUNY Cobleskill.
The Middleburgh and Schoharie school boards are to meet this week to discuss shared services and the possibility of applying for a study grant of their own, Mr. Sherman said.
Even though districts are looking into areas to share, administration probably isn’t one of them. Mr. Sherman said he isn’t sure a shared administrator is permitted under current law.
Middleburgh Superintendent Michele Weaver agreed.
“While many opportunities to share services are not possible under current statute, the districts are exhausting any possibilities that do exist,” Ms. Weaver said.