BROOKFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – It took a year to complete and is over 90 pages long — a state auditor’s feasibility study between three local school districts is finally finished.
The study is not about combining Brookfield, Liberty and Mathews into one school district though, but it’s a step in the right direction to ultimately save taxpayers money, by sharing duplicate services.
About 30 people including school officials and concerned parents joined the schools’ three superintendents Thursday night to hear the state’s presentation of the study.
“If we can give each other a call, sit down and talk — if Liberty or Mathews has something we can use — I think this opens the door for that,” said Brookfield Schools Superintendent Toby Gibson.
The state focused on five areas of possible consolidation: transportation, special needs transportation, education, food services and administration.
A vacancy created by a departing mechanic has already opened discussions about shared services with the bus fleet.
“It’s given us an interesting opportunity right now to have a discussion, the three districts, and how we can work on preventative maintenance and heavy-duty repairs with our transportation fleet,” said Liberty Schools Superintendent Joe Nohra.
Nohra sees more opportunities from the study to share services that could save the districts some serious money.
“I just think this is a unique opportunity as administrative positions come open. I think the districts really need the boards to look at sharing superintendents, treasurers and departments. That is the only way we are going to survive,” Nohra said.
Overall, the student population has declined by 2% in the districts and with a special needs population rising by nearly 12%, the three districts are open to saving money by eliminating duplicate services where they can.
“The study definitely opens your eyes to where you can possibly save money for taxpayers,” Gibson said.