One way New Jersey school districts are cutting costs is by sharing services. That might involve joint purchasing agreements and arrangements to share transportation, special education services or even personnel.
The latest issue of School Leader magazine features an in-depth look at five shared services arrangements. The examples are drawn from a major study, Shared Services in School Districts that was released in November. Done by the Institute on Education, Law and Policy of Rutgers (IELP)-Newark, and funded by NJSBA, the report includes a Catalogue of Best Practices showcasing practices involving hundreds of districts in the state.
The article includes profiles of the Bergen County School District Banking Consortium, which currently serves 43 districts; the Pittsgrove Township School District, which provides business administration services for nine other districts; Educational Data Services, a purchasing cooperative used by 214 New Jersey districts; Sterling Regional High School District and its South Jersey Technology Partnership, which provides computer technology services to more than five dozen smaller districts and charter schools; and the Sussex County Regional Cooperative, which provides transportation services for 14 districts in that county.
The January/ February 2008 issue of School Leader also features an interview with Cathy Moncrief, the 2007 NJSBA Board Member of the Year; an article on how districts can improve hiring practices; a legal primer on what districts must do to terminate a subpar employee; and a look at how health issues can become a landmine at a school board meeting. The magazine also contains the second article in a two-part series, an excerpt from reporter Deborah Yaffe’s book, “Other People’s Children: The Battle for Justice and Equality in New Jersey’s Schools.” Her article recounts how the court defined and mandated additional programs for children in the state’s poorest communities.
School Leader is mailed six times a year to all board members; select articles from the publication can also be accessed on NJSBA's Web site.