The study is expected to take about six months to complete and cost $20,000 plus reimbursement of consultant expenses, all of which the districts would split.
Without the results, Short noted, it would be premature to say what shared-services might materialize out of the venture; however, he feels it wise to conduct the research on behalf of the schools and taxpayers.
“We’re going to have to change with the times, and we’re going to have to progress, and the only way we can do that is through investigation,” Buckley said at the meeting.
“Depending on what the findings are,” Short said, “we can start laying out plans we want to endorse and directions we want to go.
“I think it’s a healthy exercise.”
It makes sense for districts to consider shared services now, Bingel noted during the meeting, given that a recent influx of state mandates, coupled with declining student enrollment and inequity of state funding, has put many schools in financial crisis.
“It’s kind of created the perfect storm here, where many districts are looking at (sharing services) because business as usual is not going to be an option,” she said.
In addition to the joint study, Plattsburgh will consider initiating its own building-use study to look at district facilities, including Momot, Bailey Avenue and Oak Street elementary schools, Stafford Middle School, Plattsburgh High School and the Duken Administration Building, and how they might be best utilized in the future, as well as deferred-maintenance needs.
Short said the building examination could be conducted by the same firm, and both studies could take place simultaneously.
“When we can bring in a neutral voice, a neutral eye, to have a fresh look at everything and guide us through the facts, the figures, the data, I think it brings a lot more credibility to the direction we decide to go,” he said.
Email Ashleigh Livingston:firstname.lastname@example.org