By Lisa Capobianco
The Southington Board of Education recently announced plans to partner with the town in the sharing of services, including technology, human resources and finance as well as purchasing.
During a recent Board of Education meeting, Southington School Supt. Dr. Joseph Erardi said the planning phase about sharing services started in August, with the goal of not only saving money, but also to work more efficiently. For instance, in the area of human resources, the Board would partner with the town in job training, advertising, and online job applications. The Board of Education uses a program called “AppliTrack” to receive online job applications instead of administering them via paper.
“We went paperless with our application process, and that saves hundreds of hours,” said Dr. Erardi during a recent Board of Education meeting. “AppliTrack will allow the town to partner with us.”
Besides job training and online applications, the Board and the town has also discussed sharing technology, especially in the area of professional development. For instance, school and town officials could learn new online tools together with the goal of enhancing their 21st century skills.
“As they build their technology staff, as we continue to build our technology staff, it just makes a lot of sense…to have combined professional development,” said Dr. Erardi, who added that the town and the Board could also share printing services for projects as well as office hardware and supplies.
Southington Town Manager Garry Brumback said that the intent of sharing services with the Board of Education is to “develop and create capability that currently does not exist,” to add an additional level of expertise.
“I looked at some things that the Board of Education had that we did not have-our goals align very closely with the Board of Education,” said Brumback, adding that enhancing technology serves as one common goal. “We are going to enhance capability.”
Brumback said one area of expertise that will benefit the town is purchasing. The Board of Education has a purchasing manager, who would have the knowledge and skills to assist the town.
“We purchase things by department,” Brumback said.
Besides sharing a purchasing manager, the town and the Board also plans to share banking services, to develop bid documents together, and to have consortium price sharing.
Board of Education Chairman Brian Goralski said it makes sense for the town and the Board to join services together, especially since they share the Municipal Center.
“The town and the school system are not separate entities,” Goralski said. “We are one.”
Although the town and the Board continues to discuss these plans further, focusing on the short-term and long-term goals, Goralski said this partnership will benefit this town as a whole.
“The more we do together, the better Southington is,” Goralski said. “I am excited about where this conversation could go.”