Greene County Schools Shared Service Delivery Initiative
Frequently Asked Questions…to be continually updated
What does “shared service delivery” mean?
“Shared-service arrangements involve the aggregated provision of services between multiple, largely autonomous entities. They generate benefits through using a single group to provide a service to multiple agencies or units, rather than requiring each agency to provide the service on its own. Benefits accrue from aggregated economies of scale or scope, the ability to negotiate from a larger base, and the adoption of streamlined, common business processes ….”
“Sharing services is a technique that both the private and public sectors have employed for decades and has been growing rapidly in popularity in recent years due to its proven ability to reduce costs [and oftentimes improve quality]. Sharing services in school districts may mean districts can band together to share everything from transportation services to building gymnasiums, creating the purchasing power and economies of scale of medium-sized districts.”
Why in Greene County?
Governor Ted Strickland has selected Greene County for this initiative because Greene County is known for its ability to establish successful partnerships to address tough challenges, and because Greene County has diverse school districts, making the County an ideal site for this effort. The intent is to define models of sharing services and assess the fiscal impacts – cost reductions and the elimination of unwarranted duplicate expenses – to inform a statewide strategy.
How will the initiative be managed?
Wright State University’s Center for Urban and Public Affairs will provide professional project management, research, communication, committee and subcommittee staffing, and will draft results.
How will the initiative be funded?
The notion was originated by a private citizen who, as a Greene County School Board Member coping with the education funding effects of the current financial meltdown, became intrigued by the idea of exploring local cross-district self help. That individual is now soliciting a wide array of Greene County-based foundations for modest sums so as to widely distribute financial support for the project’s execution by Wright State’s Center for Urban and Public Affairs. No tax dollars will be used.
Why should we do this?
“Education spending constitutes up to half of many state budgets in the United States. In recent years, tighter state budgets, surging school enrollment in many districts (and falling in others), executive mandates, and court rulings have put increasing pressure on states and school districts to reduce education costs, especially for non- instructional services. In most states at least 40 percent of every dollar spent on education never makes it into the classroom. Instead it is expended on business operations: transportation, human resources, food services, information technology, building maintenance, administration and other largely support functions.” Shared service delivery makes it possible to educate students in districts regardless of size and have the economies of scale and buying power of a large district.
Who else is doing this?
Since the idea was brought to the attention of the Center for Urban and Public Affairs as an initiative by Wright State’s home county (Greene) school districts, our researchers have already uncovered good examples of shared services. – One school district boosted its Federal and State reimbursement from $19,150 per year to $77,500 per year for free and reduced lunches by combining the ESC lunch program with the district’s program. So, Greene County has pockets “already doing this.” Across the country, there are examples from Massachusetts, California, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. New York and New Jersey both provide financial incentives for school districts to engage in shared services; and the Texas Governor issued an executive order mandating that school districts limit non-classroom spending to 35 percent of their total budgets. The order is expected to create strong momentum for more service sharing by Texas school districts.
Who will be invited to participate in the Greene County Shared Service Delivery Initiative?
Governor Strickland will convene School Board Presidents, Superintendents, and Treasurers from each school district, including the seven comprehensive districts, the Greene County Career Center, and the Greene County Educational Service Center. Faculty and practitioners with deep knowledge of the topic will be invited to participate, along with the Southwestern Ohio Educational Purchasing Council, Miami Valley Educational Computer Association (MVECA), and Metropolitan Dayton Educational Cooperative Association (MDECA). Foundations providing funding support to the project will also be invited. The State has also requested that an Ohio Department of Education and/or an Ohio Office of Budget and Management representative be involved as ex-officio members.
This group will be supported by a process management committee that advises the project manager on day-to-day process decisions. Members of the process management group include: Chairperson Jim Uphoff, Professor Emeritus: College of Education and Human Services at Wright State University and Associate Director for Faculty Development: WSU Center for Teaching & Learning; Jane Dockery, Project Manager and Associate Director of WSU Center for Urban and Public Affairs; Greg Bernhardt, Dean, WSU College of Education and Human Services; Richard Lapedes, Yellow Springs and Greene County Career Center school board member; Margy Stevens, Montgomery County Educational Service Center ; Rosalie Townsend, Xenia School District Treasurer; Mike Verlingo, CPA, Greene County Career Center and Beavercreek school board member, and Treasurer for the Clark County Educational Service Center in Springfield; and the ODE and/or OBM ex-officio.
When will the initiative begin and what is its time line?
The Process Management Committee will initiate its work the first full week of September 2009. The Governor will convene the Advisory Committee in fall 2009. Results will be reported to inform shared service delivery actions for the 2010-2011 academic year.
Where will the work be done?
Most of the work will occur at Wright State University in Fairborn, Ohio. At times, the Project Manager and her team will conduct work on site in the school districts.
How will technology be used to facilitate the work of committees?
To enable committee attendance, process committee meetings and the full advisory committee meetings will meet by teleconference and by webinar. There will be infrequent face -to-face gatherings at Wright State University including the initial meeting with Governor Strickland.
How will progress and results be communicated?
To insure complete transparency and ready reference for all concerned, the WSU Center for Urban and Public Affairs will create a public access website to present: other states’ best practice research and a reading list, a developing list of local promising practices, this frequently asked questions document, a list of funders and organizations involved, a list of committee members, all meeting summaries, and contacts from whom to obtain additional information. New questions as they are posed will be added to this FAQ document.
What generic kinds of topics will be examined? How?
The Advisory Committee will initially be asked to critique and improve the following approach to the Initiative. It is suggested that the large range of possible topics be organized into 7 categories for ease of handling and clear focus. Each category will have its own subcommittee and staff person. The topics and subcommittee are:
The Advisory Committee members will be asked to assign themselves separately to a subcommittee that interests them. In addition to the 3 members from each District on the Advisory Committee, up to 3 other representatives from their District may be subcommittee members. A caveat is that no more than 1 individual from each District may sit on a subcommittee. Toward the end the process, each of the 6 Content subcommittees will be asked to elect one of their members to the Sustainability Subcommittee.
Do Districts have to participate?
All participation is strictly voluntary. Moreover, no District is obligated to utilize any of the Advisory Committee’s recommendations. In fact it is assumed that the only reason for any District to participate, in the use of any one of the tools this Initiative hopes to create, is pure self-interest. The initial definition of self interest being proposed is “equal or better quality with reduced cost of service delivery.” Individual districts may use one tool and not another. Individual Districts may share a service delivery tool with just one or several other Districts. Individual Districts may share one tool with another District and an entirely different tool with an entirely different District. There are no obligations. The one goal is sustaining quality and reducing costs from the perspective of each separate District.
For more information, contact:
And Associate Director, Center for Urban and Public Affairs
Wright State University
 Implementing Successful Shared Services in Government, Gartner Publication, 2004
 Driving More Money into the Classroom: The Promise of Shared Services, Deloitte Research, a part of Deloitte Services LP, and the Reason Foundation, 2005
 Shared Services in School Districts: Catalogue of Best Practices, Institute on Education Law & Policy, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 2007
 Deloitte Research, a part of Deloitte Services LP, and the Reason Foundation, 2005
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