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Sharing helps the taxpayers

August 7, 2012
The Leader Herald

An important lesson we learn as children is to share. We're happy to see some local school districts, as the new school year approaches, are putting that lesson into action by taking more steps toward shared services.

When school districts share or consolidate services, they help the taxpayers. We've noticed some recent examples involving school transportation.

The Fort Plain and St. Johnsville school districts in Montgomery County announced the two boards of education entered into a new transportation agreement.

For the past three years, Fort Plain maintained and repaired St. Johnsville's three buses and one Suburban. Now, the Fort Plain district will take over transportation services, including dispatching and routing St. Johnsville buses.

Fort Plain officials said the agreement will generate more than $110,000 in revenue for their district.

The St. Johnsville School District is expected to save about $50,000. St. Johnsville will continue to use its own drivers, vehicles and aides.

The two districts already share food services with the Canajoharie school district.

In Fulton County, the Gloversville and Johnstown school districts have come up with a transportation sharing plan.

After years of legal roadblocks delayed efforts to have the two school districts share some transportation services, changes in state law have allowed them to move forward with a plan through the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services.

Under the agreement, the two districts will share Gloversville's bus garage, mechanics, maintenance staff and administration for transportation services. HFM BOCES will lease Gloversville's facility and use it to store and maintain buses.

Both districts will save money. Advantages to the Johnstown district include lower costs than it pays now to rent its facility on Crescendoe Road. Transportation aid for that garage will run out in three years, which would have resulted in the Johnstown district having to pay more than $100,000 without aid reimbursement. Also, by sharing the Gloversville facility, Johnstown won't have to build its own bus garage.

We find these transportation decisions encouraging and commend the local school boards. Districts should continue to look for more ways to share services.



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