PA Education Department Announces 39 Districts to Take Part in 'Common Cents' Cost-Saving...
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PA Education Department Announces 39 Districts to Take Part in 'Common Cents' Cost-Saving Effort Two firms selected to work with districts to recommend efficiencies, cut costs HARRISBURG, Pa., March 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Education Secretary Gerald L. Zahorchak today announced that 39 school districts in 13 counties have been selected to take part in an innovative state program designed to drive down local taxes by improving efficiency in public education while also boosting the quality of services for students and taxpayers. The Common Cents program, funded with $1 million as part of the 2007-08 education budget, will provide professional consultant services at no cost to these districts. The consultants will work with school districts and intermediate units to find innovative ways to save money and resources. Participating school districts will receive expert advice on opportunities to share services across school district boundaries. For example, a group of school districts may choose to consolidate their back-office business operations, to combine transportation departments, or to jointly offer advanced coursework. After the consultant's non-binding recommendations are finalized, they will be presented to the public in each participating school district. It is up to individual school boards whether or not to implement the recommendations. School districts that decide to move forward with shared services will receive technical assistance in implementing the new arrangements. "The Common Cents initiative will help us find ways to stretch our education dollars further, targeting more investments into the classroom and putting our precious education dollars closer to our school children," Secretary Zahorchak said. "The cost-saving ideas that arise from our work with these 39 districts could be adapted for use by other districts, potentially benefiting taxpayers in every one of the state's 501 school districts." The Governor's proposed 2008-09 education budget includes $1 million to continue the Common Cents initiative so that it can reach additional school districts. The consultants will review operations in 11 areas and recommend ways to improve efficiency and save money by combining efforts with other districts. The areas to be reviewed include: -- Instructional services -- Transportation -- Food services and nutrition -- Safety and security -- Administration -- Purchasing -- Human resources -- Finances and payroll -- Technology services -- Facilities and real estate -- Health services Secretary Zahorchak noted Common Cents empowers school districts to make strategic spending decisions at the local level without state mandates. Following a competitive request for proposals, the Department of Education selected Deloitte Consulting and Pittsburgh-based Lyceum Group LLC to work collaboratively with the districts. Both firms have extensive experience bringing shared services concepts to the public and private sectors. For more information on these efforts, visit the Department of Education Web site at www.pde.state.pa.us. Information on the Common Cents initiative can be found under the PDE "Quick Links." EDITOR'S NOTE: Districts selected to participate in Common Cents are listed below by intermediate unit. IU DISTRICT COUNTY 1 JEFFERSON-MORGAN SD GREENE 1 CANON-MCMILLAN SD WASHINGTON 1 CHARTIERS-HOUSTON SD WASHINGTON 1 RINGGOLD SD WASHINGTON 2 PITTSBURGH SD ALLEGHENY 3 BALDWIN-WHITEHALL SD ALLEGHENY 3 BRENTWOOD BOROUGH SD ALLEGHENY 3 CLAIRTON CITY SD ALLEGHENY 3 DUQUESNE CITY SD ALLEGHENY 3 PLUM BOROUGH SD ALLEGHENY 3 SHALER AREA SD ALLEGHENY 3 SOUTH ALLEGHENY SD ALLEGHENY 3 WILKINSBURG BOROUGH SD ALLEGHENY 4 BUTLER AREA SD BUTLER 4 MOHAWK AREA SD LAWRENCE 4 NEW CASTLE AREA SD LAWRENCE 4 COMMODORE PERRY SD MERCER 4 FARRELL AREA SD MERCER 4 HERMITAGE SD MERCER 4 JAMESTOWN AREA SD MERCER 4 SHARON CITY SD MERCER 4 SHARPSVILLE AREA SD MERCER 4 WEST MIDDLESEX AREA SD MERCER 5 CONNEAUT SD CRAWFORD 5 MILLCREEK TOWNSHIP SD ERIE 5 NORTH EAST SD ERIE 5 NORTHWESTERN SD ERIE 13 LEBANON SD LEBANON 17 ATHENS AREA SD BRADFORD 17 NORTHEAST BRADFORD SD BRADFORD 17 SAYRE AREA SD BRADFORD 17 TOWANDA AREA SD BRADFORD 17 WYALUSING AREA SD BRADFORD 17 MONTGOMERY AREA SD LYCOMING 17 MONTOURSVILLE AREA SD LYCOMING 17 SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT AREA SD LYCOMING 27 AMBRIDGE S.D. BEAVER 27 BLACKHAWK SD BEAVER 27 HOPEWELL AREA SD BEAVER CONTACT: Michael Race (717) 783-9802 SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Education Michael Race of the Pennsylvania Department of Education, +1-717-783-9802
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