Question: Could the exact cost savings numbers (as they relate to outsourcing transportation and food service) please be posted on Plain Talk? Could you please detail our contractual obligations, which do not allow us to outsource food and transportation? If contractual obligations exist it seems as though putting such discussions in front of tax payers is deterring tax payers from addressing the more productive ideas.
Answer: Because you posed several related questions, I thought it wise to address them at once.
Outsourcing of these services is not precluded by the contracts which are in force; however there is a very significant challenge to doing so. The CSEA contract is set to be renegotiated this year, so this is a relevant discussion.
The Taylor Law (http://www.perb.state.ny.us/stat.asp) holds that boards of education are not able to unilaterally outsource business functions which have previously been the exclusive domain of a bargaining unit. This means that the bargaining unit would have to vote in agreement with the outsourcing. This is an unlikely scenario, to be sure.
However, it’s important to note that the round-table discussions are informational in purpose. It is not useless for taxpayers to be made aware of the challenges involved in making changes to the district. We agree that it’s important not to dwell on things that can’t be changed. We regard it as also important to cover areas that people may be curious about – participants walk away knowing more than they knew before.
It’s also worthwhile to note that the next few years may introduce large changes from the state government, including changes to the Taylor Law. If taxpayers are well informed on topics such as these then they can more effectively advocate for changes.
-answered by Ed Szumowski, Board of Education Vice President
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