The governor’s administration and the Ohio School Board Association on Wednesday announced an online “tool kit” to foster collaborations among Ohio’s many public services, including school districts.
The tool kit is part of Beyond Boundaries, Gov. John Kasich’s strategic action plan released earlier this year.
The program encourages partnerships among school districts, local governments and state agencies by sharing equipment and services in an effort to reduce purchasing and operating costs.
Debra Foulk, executive director of business affairs for Akron Public Schools, said she has yet to review the online tool kit, which provides a forum for local leaders to discuss and to share successful partnerships. But Foulk is familiar with the process. She engages other district business managers through monthly meetings and daily phone calls to talk about what works and what doesn’t.
“There’s no need to re-invent the wheel,” said Foulk, who shares project plans, requests for proposals and services with other districts.
Lori Ward, superintendent for Dayton schools, is a “firm believer in shared services.” By decreasing operating costs, the district can spend more on students, she said.
“Shared services to me implies a creative, innovative approach,” Ward said. “We’re all trying to target more money for the classrooms.”
Randy Cole, president of the state Controlling Board and Ohio Office of Budget and Management policy adviser on shared services initiatives, said schools must find new and more creative ways to reduce their costs and improve efficiency.
“By embracing shared services concepts and tools we’re making available, they recognize that the old ways of doing business simply can’t continue,” Cole said in a news release.
School administrators and local officials can use the online tool at http://beyondboundaries.ohio.gov/toolkit.aspx as a forum for local leaders to discuss, explore and review cost-saving initiatives, many of which are local and not state-sponsored projects.
Doug Livingston can be reached at 330-996-3792 or email@example.com.