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NY school districts work on 'efficiency'

Shinichi Sugiyama
School district superintendents say consolidated bus routes could help save money.

Sharing -- it’s one of the first lessons kids learn in school. And now New York is telling schools that they have to share, too. The state wants schools to come together and save money.

“In our case the 15 districts in Broome-Tioga BOCES have to realize an annual savings of $2.7 million,” says Windsor Central School District superintendent Jason Andrews.

Andrews is leading area schools in an “efficiency plan,” figuring out how they can share services and save money. The plans are a new state requirement this year. It’s part of an effort to save taxpayers money. If school districts submit the plans, their residents qualify for a tax credit.

Andrews says so far his group of schools aims to share professional development, business expenses and in some cases even teachers.

But there’s a catch. The savings have to be new. Any sharing before 2012 doesn’t count.

“In our region, we have a long and rich history of sharing services,” Andrews says, “so for example, the vast majority of the districts have a consolidated business office already.”

Andrews says that makes new sharing opportunities hard to find. Districts have to submit the plans by June 1.

Solvejg Wastvedt grew up in western Pennsylvania and graduated from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. Over the summer, she served in Los Angeles as an intern on NPR's National Desk. Plus, before coming to Upstate New York, Solvejg worked at the Minneapolis community radio station KFAI. When she isn't reporting the news, Solvejg enjoys running and exploring hiking trails.