After a lengthy discussion Saturday morning, Gloucester County supervisors and school board members decided to seek a consultant to study the feasibility of consolidating transportation services and relocating them to 22 acres behind the Thomas Calhoun Walker Education Center.
Consolidating and relocating the transportation services would free up the former Page Middle School site, which holds the school division transportation facility, and the site of the county garage at Ordinary. Both properties have prime Route 17 frontage and some supervisors have expressed an interest in marketing the sites.
The potential consolidation of county and school support departments has long been discussed and studied but has not proven to be beneficial with the exception of purchasing services. Presently, one purchasing agent serves both the county and schools.
An attempt to have a combined human resources department proved unworkable, recounted school board chairman Randy Burak, and a lack of funding for a new facility hindered prior talks of transportation consolidation. Most recently, with the change in county board and school board membership, the consolidation of services has come back to the forefront.
On Saturday, school division superintendent Ben Kiser said he and county administrator Brenda Garton had already agreed that transportation was the best place to start regarding consolidation.
“We need to figure out if combining really would be efficient and what would be the chain of command,” said school board member Carla Hook. “If we’re going to do that, we’ve got a lot of work to do and we need to start now and not just kick it down the road,” she said. County board chairman Robert Orth agreed. “We need to take some action today. We’ve done enough talking,” he said.