Sunday, April 28, 2013

Waiting to get Offended

I am glad that the article concerning consolidation and shared services in the Hunterdon County Democrat that featured many quotes by me has sparked more conversation about the same, consolidation and shared services that is, not me, although it did do both.  Two letters appeared last week challenging our consolidated school concept and the other crying foul for my broad statements on shared services.

In reverse order, true enough there are examples of shared service efforts, and I am keenly aware of these.  Not an exhaustive list, but Lebanon Borough is largely run by shared services, South Hunterdon is to be commended for its effort and my friend Mayor Daniels and his colleagues in Califon are to be lauded for their achievements, efforts and enthusiasm.   I have hosted seminars with the people behind these efforts as speakers so I am all too aware of the great work they are doing.  Shockingly a brief interview for a brief news article broadly about shared services with selected quotes will sometimes result in broad comments that omit some specifics. 

My comment that “There’s an apprehension to even look at a study, to see what the numbers would be,” is true, but it doesn't mean everybody is apprehensive as one writer inferred.  And I have always asserted that school consolidation would both improve education and reduce costs.  Again the writer infers slights that are not there. 

There were many good questions raised about a single school district. The first question about where we got our data was answered in an article by Cristina Rojas/Hunterdon County Democrat on January 24, 2012. The answer to the second is yes, why not 4 or 8 districts, we are open to more than one.  Our data shows that one district may offer the savings we have suggested based on what other counties around the country do, but we would have our study would open to any number depending on what best improves education and secondly reduces costs.

Bigger isn't necessarily better and no one is suggesting that expressing a cliché should substitute for a thorough study.  Let’s get the facts and let the facts guide us.