Existing Shared Services/Purchasing
Vocational Transportation – Lee, Lenox, and Richmond sharing transportation to Taconic and Pittsfield, FY16 – Lee and Town of Becket sharing rides to Smith Vocational
Special Education Transportation – Districts share the cost of out of district transportation when they have students placed within the same, or nearby, programs out of district.
Field Trip Transportation – Districts share the cost of field trips, when field trips include two or more districts and buses are shared.
Comm-buys – Comm-Pass is Massachusetts’ state bid program. When planning larger purchases, districts evaluate prices both through this program as well through an independent process. In some circumstances, if a product or service is not listed on the Comm Pass system, but a vendor has been approved to provide this product or service, a district will take advantage of the opportunity to use the vendor and get the desired product or service from the approved vendor at the lowest possible price.
Connecticut’s Collaborative Purchasing Group (CREC) – copy paper
Bulk purchasing within each district, as appropriate – For example, the Central Office purchases all printer paper to receive a bulk discount either from another group or through individua vendor. When individual schools need paper supplies, the cost is transferred from the Central Office account to the school account, to accurately reflect costs.
Lower Pioneer Valley Educational Collaborative (LPVEC) – Electricity and gas bid – purchased
Berkshire region Food Service bids – Region-wide milk, ice cream and paper bid. Additionally, locally purchasing as possible (BHRSD)
403(b) Bid – A 403(b) is a retirement plan for employees of public schools, to which employees can contribute annually. Changing IRS regulations and requirements have made the management of these plans more involved and fairly cost prohibitive for any district to manage this on their own, given most staffing models. Therefore, districts have engaged the services of a Third Party Administrator (TPA) specializing in these programs.
OT/PT services – LPVEC hired former SBEC employees allowing districts to share these services.
GASB 45 – Many municipalities and school districts, have collaboratively engaged the services of an actuarial firm to calculate the OPEB unfunded liabilities, per the federal GASB guideline This collaboration saved time and money.
Health Insurance – The Berkshire Health Group (BHG) is a self-insured insurance association of Berkshire region schools and towns. By participating in this group, BHRSD, Lenox (town and school), and SBRSD get the benefits of reduced insurance rates and claims management. MIIA – FRRSD, Lee, Richmond
Other Insurances – MIIA – The Massachusetts Municipal Association formed the (MIIA) to service the insurance needs of municipal entities. Through this program, the towns/districts save on all non-health insurance, including automobile, general liability, property and casualty, employee liability and umbrella insurance coverages. Most municipalities/districts also receive a dividend payback, which reduces costs even further due to length of participation.
Massachusetts Higher Education Collaborative (MHEC) – New England purchasing consortium.
3. SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICES
School Year – Tuition enrollment between districts enables students to access appropriate educational programs and services, without each district needing to establish their own similar program, thereby eliminating the need to duplicate existing programs.
Summer – Each district can enroll age-appropriate students in a shared summer special education program held on the Berkshire Hills RSD campus.
4. MEDICARE REIMBURSEMENTS
The requirements for Medicaid reimbursements make it fairly cost prohibitive for any district to manage this on their own, given most staffing models. Two processors are used by south Berkshire districts. Both charge a fee, with UMASS being slightly lower.
UMASS Medical School – UMMS is also the state’s official Medicaid processor.
Reimbursement from the federal government through a communications tax for schools and libraries programs. Some districts process on their own; others use a processor at a small fee.
6. VIRTUAL HIGH SCHOOL (VHS)
Currently overseen by BHRSD for 5-district participation.
7. COOPERATIVE SPORTS PROGRAMS (within the MIAA parameters)
Crew, Hockey,Lacrosse, Lee/Lenox Football, Swimming
8. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Examples of shared professional development are:
Cross-district literacy and math professional development; Creation of common professional development days throughout the school year, in order for educators from districts to participate in programs across the six districts; Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) training.
9. ADDITIONAL COLLABORATION OPPORTUNITIES
Sharing of bid document templates, to maximize efficiencies and reduce redundancies. Membership in state-wide listserves for Superintendents and Business Administrators, providing access to a wide range of best practices.