Schools consolidate on labor to save money

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Five northern Kent County school districts anticipate jointly saving at least $430,000 in the coming fiscal year by consolidating certain business and technology services, according to The Grand Rapids Press.

Comstock Park, Cedar Springs, Sparta, Kent City and Kenowa Hills plan to share payroll, accounts payable and technology services through the Kent Intermediate School District, reducing labor costs in those areas by about 50 percent, The Press reported. Other public school districts may join later, according to the report.

While larger districts like Grand Rapids Public Schools or Forest Hills would see less financial or efficiency benefits from sharing employees, the practice can help smaller districts significantly, Forest Hills Superintendent Dan Behm told The Press. Behm is chairman of the KISD Superintendents Collaboration Committee.

Several administrators told The Press that sharing business functions allows them to direct more money to classroom instruction.

The Grand Rapids Press, "Five northern Kent County school districts consolidate business, technology services to save money," July 2, 2010

Michigan Education Digest, "Shared services may be in schools' future," Oct. 14, 2009