The Lawrence School District will save millions of dollars by cutting several BOCES services.
The biggest savings comes with the district’s direct employment of nurses, psychiatrists and social workers who had worked through BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services) at district private schools. BOCES had been charging the district $21,000 in fees per employee, which was set to rise, said Superintendent Gary Schall.
“I refer to it as a win, win, win. The kids win, the schools win, the providers win,” Schall told Patch. “Between the dollar amount and the return of students back to the district, we have taken from BOCES over $2.1 million of business that was originally contracted out.”
The district now employs an additional 16 individuals, leading to $365,000 in savings, Schall said. Services will actually increase, he added. Salaries were also reduced by $360,000. The private schools had a say in who it employed, as it had prerogative to keep its current providers. Principals were also able to interview new candidates.
Meanwhile, the district will also be able to recoup funds from neighboring districts whose students attend School District 15 schools. Schall estimates yearly income of $400,000.
Schall thanked the business office, which spearheaded the effort and will be absorbing some the work that had been done by BOCES.
“This was a phenomenal innovation on the district’s part,” he said.
Further savings from BOCES also come from several special education students that had attended school at BOCES being brought back to the district. Additionally, the district has saved another $100,000 by using software directly from the developer, instead of BOCES.“With our fiscal constraints, we really have to look everywhere for savings as we go forward,” said Lawrence Board of Education President Dr. David Sussman. “We have to look at our major vendors and go over every contract. We can no longer pay more for the same service. Everyone knows that. I don’t think it’s aggressive, it’s the name of the game now.”