Sunday, February 15, 2015

New 112 Schools and property surplus must produce efficiencies with other governments

School District 112 is in the mist of reducing their school structures so they can be more sustainable for the long term. School District 113 has been upgrading the high schools and is hiring a new superintendent. The Park District has leased the Highland Park Country Club and is going over their long term capital plan to look at their facilities in respect to needs of our residents.

As we are moving forward through 2015 and beyond it is time for all governments to think globally as we face continued economic challenges and restructure in a way that can reduce costs by looking to share facilities, administration, and services that are in common. So, one might ask where are the services in common with Park Districts (HP, HWD, Drfd), School Districts (HP, HWD, Drfd), and for the heck of it throw in the City's of Highland Park, Highwood, and Deerfield. OR maybe any smaller grouping you might imagine. We have to ask ourselves what services or functions any, all, or additional local governments have in common.

Obviously, schools are more aligned with schools, city's with city's, and parks with parks, but still all have functions that are similar. Maintenance and custodial service of structures and grounds is common to all. Administration and management structures, basic office support services, electronic hardware, and communication equipment are all duplicated. For most, they have finance departments, human resources, legal, and some sort of negotiations with unions. Public safety overshadows all governments and communities. No rocket scientist needed for this exploration and demonstration, just the will to proceed with analysis and consolidation.

Lets start with one facility to be home for two or more of our governments to reduce costs. Shared parking, shared phone bank, shared copy machines, shared tech, shared kitchens, shared restrooms, and shared office help. Along with the reduced cost of one building, you have professional leaders together under one roof where they can hopefully work together on future joint operations and efficiency. We need to start somewhere to change our culture to more align with our sustainability values.

Choice here in my opinion is we can proactively move forward on these efficiencies now voluntarily or be forced to in the near future as revenues continue to be reduced by a failing State government and a overburdened tax base. Let's Move On!