LAKE PLACID - A local organization has offered to pay for a study that would explore potential cost savings for two local school districts interested in sharing services.
Dave Wolff of AdkAction.org told the Lake Placid Central School District Board of Education Tuesday night that his organization wants to pay the Rochester-based Center for Government Research to perform a study to look at possible savings the Saranac Lake and Lake Placid school districts would realize through sharing certain services. The Lake Placid school board voted unanimously to let AdkAction.org move forward with the study.
"It would be a high-level study," Wolff said. "It's not one of their detailed studies, but we believe that information would still be of great value to the joint teams that you all have looking at shared services. And once the research has done the analysis, we would pay for them to come on back up and present it to you and to, hopefully, a joint meeting of yourselves and the folks over in Saranac Lake."
Dave Wolff of AdkAction.org speaks to the Lake Placid school board about a study of shared services his organization wants to fund.
(Enterprise photo — Chris Morris)
The two school boards recently decided not to pursue a shared superintendent. They did, however, set up four joint committees that will look at four potential areas for shared services: instructional services, food services, business, and property and equipment. Wolff said the study would zero in on those areas.
The study would cost about $3,500, Wolff said. There would be no cost for the two school districts, according to Lake Placid school board President Mary Dietrich.
Wolff said he's spoken to Saranac Lake Superintendent Gerald Goldman, who told him he supports the planned study. Wolff will ask the Saranac Lake school board tonight for permission to move forward with the study.
"CGR was set up by George Eastman in 1915 (and) is a nonpartisan, independent agency that was focused originally to help make sure that the folks in Rochester had an independent source of information," he said. "It helps municipalities with objective, fact-based analysis, both in and outside the state of New York."
CGR has performed studies on county nursing homes, government mergers and regional planning, according to its website. Wolff said the group has also helped municipalities evaluate programs and interpret census data, among other things.
School board member Phil Baumbach asked if the Tupper Lake Central School District would be involved. Wolff said he made the offer but hasn't heard back.
"I believe the shared services discussion right now is primarily between yourselves and Saranac Lake," Wolff told the Lake Placid school board.
Dietrich called Wolff's offer a "great gift to the two districts.
"It's not an easy process to go through, trying to figure out how best we can share services and what's the cost analysis," Dietrich said. "They're providing us with a service that specializes in that. It'll be a huge help in allowing us to plan our budgets as we're entering the budget planning phase and to move ahead with working on a process to share services effectively."
The Saranac Lake school board meets at 6:30 p.m. today in the Petrova library.
Contact Chris Morris at 518-891-2600 ext. 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org.