GLOVERSVILLE - The Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services will help the Gloversville and Johnstown school districts combine their food- service programs.
The program will be similar to the two districts' collaboration on transportation.
"We want to start with the management structure," BOCES Superintendent Patrick Michel told the Gloversville Board of Education last week. "[It will be] very similar to what we are doing with the bus garage and the aid you will get for this is substantial."
He said about 80 cents on every dollar spent on the shared BOCES program will come back to the districts in incentive aid from the state.
"Both Gloversville and Johnstown have signed the commitment letters to proceed with the beginning of a combined food-service system," Michel said.
Michel said the two districts would save at least $100,000 to $200,000 in the first year of the program.
By the start of the 2013-14 school year, he said BOCES could begin to implement a consolidation of the rest of the food-services programs. He said he anticipates "significant savings" by combining the programs.
"We have been working on different regional plans and started with transportation," board President Pete Semione said. "Both cities agreed we wanted to go forward with it, but we let Johnstown approve it first and then we approved it at our last meeting. Now we can take the next step and get things in place for July."
Semione said the shared food services will save the two school districts in administrative and purchasing costs.
"As the transportation piece has shown, I see it bringing savings back to Gloversville and Johnstown," Semione said. "We are just taking this one step at a time and aggressively moving forward. Dr. Michel deserves all the credit for this, he has been the driving force."
Gloversville Enlarged School District Superintendent Michael Vanyo said the sharing of food services between the two districts "makes all the financial sense in the world."
"We continue to look for ways to be more efficient and look for cost-saving methods so we can use those savings to go directly into the classroom," Vanyo said.
Vanyo said there's an opportunity for the two districts to have a shared food-service director and work together on menu planning and bulk ordering.
He said some of the salary expenses and benefits of management positions would be covered under BOCES aid.
"It will be a good return for us," Vanyo said.
"As you make that type of move, you are positioning yourself for efficiencies and savings because you will be either bulk ordering or bulk purchasing, and oversight will be more focused," Johnstown Superintendent Robert DeLilli said.
Michel said almost every school district in the BOCES region is going to look at shared food service. He said in the Mohawk region, the Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville School District, the Fonda-Fultonville School District, Fort Plain and Canajoharie will consider combining food services and work together to reduce costs.
He said in the Sacandaga zone, the Wells and Northville school districts will look into combining food services.
"We will be meeting with all of these districts ... to make sure it is all well organized and then from there we will roll with it," Michel said.
This school year, the Johnstown and Gloversville districts merged transportation services to save money. Johnstown now shares Gloversville's bus garage.
Michel said sharing transportation this past school year has gone well. BOCES took over management of the program.
"I think things are moving in a good direction," Michel said.
Michel said both districts split the operational expenses and revenue to save the districts money. The management and mechanics at the facility are being paid through BOCES.
Vanyo said his district will give a formal presentation to the New York State School Boards Association on the shared transportation program.
"They have accepted our proposal and we will do a presentation to the entire state on this venture we are doing in Rochester," Vanyo said.
"What we are doing here is rather unique around the state, so now people want to learn from us what we are doing and how we did it," Michel said.
Michel said by July 1, he hopes the drivers will be unified under BOCES.
He said the negotiations with the drivers, who are members of the Civil Service Employees Association, is going well.
This new "regional hub," Michel told Gloversville officials, already has saved $100,000. He said $50,000 in funding is being rebated to each district.
"We have also projected another $100,000 by the end of the school year," he said. "I think this year between the two school districts, we have saved a substantial amount of money."