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May 12, 2014

Plattsburgh, Beekmantown schools explore sharing

BEEKMANTOWN — Education consultants are recommending oversight of Plattsburgh City School's buses be moved to Beekmantown Central School. 

“We think that the possibility of having Beekmantown pick up the oversight and maintenance of the Plattsburgh buses would make some sense," Alan Pole of the education consulting firm Castallo and Silky said at a recent joint meeting of the districts' school boards. 

He and colleague Jessica Cohen shared the findings of a shared-services study the two districts hired them to conduct to look for potential collaboration. 

The schools have similar enrollments, populations, state-aid ratios and test scores, Cohen told attendees of the session at Beekmantown Elementary School, making it easier for them to share services. 

BUSING POSSIBILITIES

Their transportation systems, however, are very different, Pole noted, largely because Beekmantown comprises 93 square miles, while Plattsburgh covers just three. 

Beekmantown has 44 buses and 29 drivers, he noted, and Plattsburgh has seven buses and three drivers. 

While Beekmantown employs a full-time transportation supervisor and two full-time mechanics, transportation at Plattsburgh is overseen by the superintendent of buildings and grounds. 

In addition, Pole said, Plattsburgh sends its buses to Saranac for state inspections and to Champlain for maintenance at an annual cost of $53,000. 

Rather than Plattsburgh relying on multiple parties to provide transportation services, he continued, “we think the centralized operation of letting Beekmantown oversee that would be positive.”

The arrangement would potentially bring $53,000 in revenue to Beekmantown, Pole said, without creating any additional costs for Plattsburgh School District. 

“And given the proximity of the two districts, we believe that Plattsburgh could reduce the number of miles on their school buses that are not eligible for state aid by having all of the things maintained closer to home," he added. 

CURRICULUM POST

The consultants also suggested the districts consider sharing a curriculum coordinator. 

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