Oceanport Demands More From Shared Services Study
Frustrated board of education members met Thursday with the consultant who performed a feasibility study of shared school services between neighboring districts.
Members of the Oceanport Board of Education voiced their frustration last week with what they said was a feasibility report on administrative services that lacked new information.
The board, along with those of Monmouth Beach, West Long Branch and Shore Regional school districts, entered into an agreement with Puleio & Strimple Associates in January to conduct a study to advise their boards of future options for providing administrative services.
Firm principal Nick Puleio agreed to appear before Oceanport's board at its July 19 meeting in response to a letter from board member Kelly McGowan, who served on the shared services committee and helped spearhead the feasibility report.
For Oceanport and Monmouth Beach, the report concluded that they "pursue sharing administrative positions as the opportunity presents itself" since they both have sitting superintendents and business administrators.
The board was sharp in its criticism of the services that Puleio's firm provided.
"Everything you told us we already knew," said board member Mark O'Neill. "Would you have paid three grand for what you gave us? Would you pay for that sentence you read to us?"
At a previous meeting, McGowan said of the report, "This says nothing we didn't already know. We knew what our needs were and were counting on professionals (to provide answers)."
Last week McGowan said she expected to learn from the study how specific job descriptions could be shared with Monmouth Beach, as well as some estimate of savings that could be reaped, such as Oceanport's current business administrator taking over duties of the retiring business administrator of Monmouth Beach.
The board determined that there was some confusion between it and Puleio about what the report should have contained.
"I think we were further along than you counted on us being," McGowan said about Oceanport's investigation into how to share services with its neighbors.
Puleio agreed, at no further charge, to go back and "drill down the numbers and quantify the 'what if.'"
He said he expected to have a more detailed report to the board within 7-10 business days.