I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Panhandle County Gets National Recognition for Cost Cutting

Not Escambia.  Santa Rosa is singled out in this recent article that appeared on Breitbart's Big Government site.  Santa Rosa's efforts at privatizing services has saved tremendous sums of taxpayer money--and has proven to be a wise course of action.....

From the article:

"Some Florida schools have managed to weather the financial storm on their own by tackling runaway labor costs. The Santa Rosa district is a good example. Like most districts, it has felt the effects of decreased state aid. Santa Rosa’s current operating budget is about $15 million less than last year’s budget.  But school officials did not have to hit the panic button, or demand tax increases to maintain their programs. Instead they made some “tough decisions,” including the privatization of their food, custodial and transportation programs, a gradual process that began in the 1990s.  “(The tough decisions) are paying dividends because we are very solvent and we are able to navigate through the next year without too much concern,” Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick recently told  Jim Crane, director of purchasing and contract administration for Santa Rosa schools, helped implement the district’s privatization plan, which was among the first in the state. He’s seen the benefits of privatization first hand.  “We’re saving millions per year because we contracted out, and we’re getting better service,” Crane told EAG. “It’s been a net plus for us.”
Crane notes the district’s switch to privatization was very gradual. Instead of replacing union employees with private sector counterparts immediately, Santa Rosa decided to replace employees through attrition. As they quit or retire, they’re replaced with contracted workers.  Eighteen years ago, two-thirds of Santa Rosa’s custodial staff were district employees, and were paid according to contractually negotiated salary schedules. That’s down to two percent today.  When salary and benefits are averaged out, a custodian employed directly by the district costs twice as much as a privately contracted custodian, Crane said. District-employed transportation employees cost one-third more than their private sector counterparts."

Read the full article here

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