2008-09-25 / Editorial


School, town should continue efforts to curtail costs

Islanders may recall that there was some concern expressed this past spring during the town's budget discussions that our community's school expenses have been increasing at a rapid rate despite declining student enrollment. In other words, it is costing us taxpayers more to pay for the education of fewer students.

The school budget was ultimately approved by the voters at the Financial Town Meeting, and plans were made to continue to review the school's operational costs.

In August, the School Committee invited the Town Council to an informal retreat to explore ways that the two could work together. Ideas were discussed and the two groups agreed to meet again in October.

Some of the common areas between the school and town are obvious. There is an apparent duplication of efforts in some departments. For instance, both the schools and the town have their own fi- nancial departments. It may be possible to combine business operations and reduce overall costs.

Both the school and town have technology needs. Again, instead of funding the operation of two departments, it may be possible to consolidate and reduce operational expenses.

The purchase of utilities, fuel, heating oil and supplies may be another way to leverage a combined purchasing power.

It was suggested that a consultant be hired to review school and town departments to identify strategies to increase cost efficiencies.

There may also be ways to collaborate with nearby school systems to reduce expenses at the Jamestown schools.

We applaud the initial efforts of the School Committee and the Town Council to work together. We hope that the October meeting will generate more concrete ways of combining operations and saving the taxpayers a few dollars.

— Jeff McDonough

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