Many states are looking into ways to trim K-12 ed. expenses while maintaining program quality. To this end, most states are re-evaluating non-instructional services. However, Rhode Island legislation enacted in 2010 casts an eye at instructional services as an area for greater efficiency.
H.B. 7668 establishes the Cooperative Service Among School Districts Act of 2010. The bill calls for educational collaboratives to submit a plan to the board of regents, for approval by the commissioner of education, to increase efficiencies and economies of scale in providing instructional services. Each plan must incorporate best practices from business, reflect a regional approach and include measures related to (1) Teacher training and staff development programs; (2) Special education programs and diagnostic services; (3) Gifted and talented programs; (4) Programs for students at risk of suspension or expulsion; (5) Development of shared instructional services; (6) Joint purchasing agreements for various non-instructional services (which we are seeing in other states); and (7) Any other consolidation of services and purchasing that achieves efficiencies and cost savings.
Though some might argue that such plans are easier in small states like Rhode Island, there may be an argument for similar efforts in larger states, particularly states with numerous smaller school districts.