To: AESA Superintendents/CEOs
From: Brian L. Talbott
Date: June 2, 2009
Re: Responses to AESA’s Request for Critical Information
I want to thank those of you who took the time to complete the AESA survey sent out on May 11, 2009. Despite the short timeline we were very pleased to have received responses from seventy-eight ESAs. The results provide critical information for our national database and confirm a trend perceived by AESA .
Following is a brief summary of the submitted responses.
Question 1. Are you offering “back office services” to school districts? Back office services could include such things as business operations, payroll, accounts receivable, accounts payable, purchasing, investment services, etc. If yes, and you do not provide these services through your ESA employees, who do you use as your subcontractor?
Your answers indicate that offering back office services is definitely a new trend for ESAs. Forty-one of the seventy-eight respondents reported offering these services. Of the thirty-seven respondents not currently offering back office services, six were considering the option. It was reported that New York is discussing the possibility of offering back office services statewide through the BOCES.
Question 2. Do you have cost-effectiveness reports and/or studies for any or all of your services?
The survey showed that sixteen of sixty-nine respondents provide cost-effectiveness reports and/or studies. Cost-effectiveness reports/studies are being requested by both legislative staffers and ESAs as they look to increase the role of ESAs through equity and budget saving measures. These studies help AESA insure that ESAs are a cost-effective way to leverage federal, state and local dollars on behalf of local school districts and the students they serve.
I would like to reiterate how appreciative AESA is for the time you took to complete this survey. Your responses are critical for the advancement of ESAs across the country. This information will be extremely valuable to ESAs that are being asked to provide back office services. Many state leaders believe the provision of these services is the only way they can support rural and/or small school districts without mandating consolidation. Importantly, studies indicate that consolidation results in the loss of community identity. The only real cost savings occur in the area of management services which ultimately could be provided by the ESAs. In other words, there were savings at the district administrative level, but districts still needed teachers and other related costs, such as transportation, actually increased.
Please click on the links below to read eight supplemental documents for your review. Attachment 1 charts the actual survey results. Specific ESA comments to the questions posed are included in Attachments 2 and 3. Attachment 4 is a service and benefit summary provided by First District RESA, Brooklet, Georgia. Attachments 5 and 6 are cost saving memoranda from Lincoln Intermediate Unit 12, New Oxford, Pennsylvania.
If you have any additional questions regarding this information feel free to contact us at 703-875-0739 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.