Regionalization of small school districts has been a hot and controversial topic recently; but as many school districts face difficult financial challenges they have had no other choice but to consider alternative options for cutting costs. Small school districts are most affected because of a lack of economies of scale and collaboratives just may be a solution to this dilemma.
The Massachusetts Organization of Educational Collaboratives (MOEC) recently published a white paper called Educational Service Agencies in Massachusetts: Building Capacity in Small School Districts. The paper first outlines the myriad functions of Collaboratives and the cost savings they have provided for their member districts. Secondly, the paper compares and contrasts Massachusetts Collaboratives with other Educational Service Agencies (ESA) models that are used in other states. Lastly, the paper proposes an optimal Collaborative model in Massachusetts called, Collaborative Regional Organizations (CRO). This model proposes that if collaboratives work together regionally; provide a specialized function for that region, and at the same time be accountable, we will maximize costs savings for small school districts. The opportunity for collaboratives to serve as a vehicle for economies of scale with the increase budget constraints is timely and all collaboratives in Massachusetts are ready to serve this function.
Although collaboratives have been around for more than 30 years, the state has recently become more interested in the collaborative model. This recent “buzz” has brought recognition to collaboratives and district administrators are becoming mindful of a unique role and expertise that these 29 Educational service agencies in Massachusetts can provide..
If you are interested in reading the white paper click on the link below.