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Fri January 24, 2014
Education Proposals From Sangamon Co. Efficiency Panel
Education shows up in recommendations from the Sangamon County Citizens' Efficiency Commission. A focus is on transportation, a costly part of school budgets.
The commission recommends increased collaboration between District 186 and the Springfield Mass Transit District. From the report:
"While the CEC did not find it feasible that District 186 would be able to eliminate all transportation costs through cooperation with SMTD, increased ridership, particularly among high school students, could lead to cost savings for the District and SMTD. There are a number of areas where routes might be revisited to increase public school students’ utilization of mass transit. The CEC preliminarily explored these options, but did not develop a final recommendation in this area."
The District and SMTD have apparently agreed to begin talking about ways to work together.
Another proposal calls for local schools to develop ways they can share their online curriculum. The report points out the programs can help students prepare for higher education and enable districts to provide quality course offerings while some face declining enrollment and financial challenges.
The commission goes on to recommend colleges and universities collaborate on student engagement in ways that can serve the area and its residents. That could include internship programs, class projects, faculty research, or student research projects. It points out Benedictine University has developed a local outreach program.
But the panel sidestepped the issue of school consolidation.
While the report points out the topic was raised, it goes on to say that " a body specifically tasked with examining school issues might be better equipped to address these questions, and that its efforts would be better directed elsewhere, given its multi-jurisdictional nature, limited expertise, and the unique and complex nature of school district functions."
The report says while no proposals were made, "this does not, however, suggest that the CEC does not find opportunities related to school efficiency and effectiveness to exist."
The commission was created in a 2010 referendum and has been studying ways to streamline and improve government services.