Gloucester supervisor suggests privatizing some school functions

by Quinton Sheppard - Posted on Mar 19, 2014 - 03:13 PM

A presentation given by York district supervisor Phillip Bazzani Tuesday night about privatizing certain school board functions drew concern from several school system employees who attended the Gloucester County Board of Supervisors meeting in the colonial courthouse.

Bazzani prefaced his presentation Tuesday night by saying he wanted to bring it to the attention of his fellow board members to consider encouraging the school system to look into privatizing certain, non-educational functions. This essentially means services formerly provided by the local government may be contracted to private companies, which Bazzani said, often increases government efficiency and reduces operating costs.

“I’m asking the school board to consider looking at different functions to see if we can possibly save money within our school system in areas that have nothing to do with (educating) our students,” Bazzani said. “We need to look at ways to determine how to reduce the burden on our taxpayers.”

He said both boards need to “introspectively” look into their budgets and ask, “What processes can we consolidate or outsource before we fall to the taxpayers.”

Several areas Bazzani asked for the school board to consider privatizing are cafeteria, custodial and technology management functions. He said contracting private companies to handle these services instead of the school system would give the school board more resources to focus solely on education.

Bazzani also said in his presentation that in instances of other localities that have gone with privatization, current school system employees are hired back by the private company to continue working.

He said savings can range anywhere from 12 to 25 percent from privatizing certain services.

“Teachers are underpaid,” Bazzani said. “If we can find savings in this, we can keep them in Gloucester. They won’t have to move to other localities for better paying jobs.

“I’m not demanding anything,” he concluded. “All I’m asking you to do is consider it.”