Educational Collaboratives: Saving Tax Dollars for Massachusetts Schools

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M. Craig Stanley, Ed.D. Executive Director, Greater Lawrence Educational Collaborative

My fervent hope is that this paper may in some small way contribute to the effective education of our Commonwealth’s school children. By adopting strategies proven to be successful in other states, Massachusetts will realize significant savings in the cost of educational support services, thereby allowing precious tax dollars to be used for their primary purpose, the provision of quality student instruction.

The Problem

The American educational system is going through a period of intensive critical evaluation. Numerous studies have demonstrated the need for significant reform in our schools if we are to address the needs of our rapidly changing society. Several national trends have propelled this need for change in our schools, including the following:

  • our rapidly escalating trade deficit, indicative of our need to become more competitive in the world economy
  • changing demographics in our student population, reflecting a greater diversity in social, economic, and cultural background
  • increasing numbers of “at-risk” students, including school dropouts and those with social, emotional, and other difficulties who are unable to profit from the traditional school curricula and require alternative educational services
  • a continued disparity between the level of student achievement in affluent suburbs versus inner cities or rural areas
  • increased demands for school district accountability, as reflected in the MCAS requirements for Massachusetts students and the provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind Act
  • the increasing difficulty of offering quality education in the face of overwhelming budget constraints, especially acute in Massachusetts as school districts grapple with the projected revenue shortfall of fiscal year 2004.

This combination of factors presents an apparent dilemma. On the one hand, schools are facing new and complex challenges that require considerable financial resources to address. On the other hand, the ability of our school districts to address these challenges is severely hampered by federal, state, and local budget constraints.

These unprecedented challenges cannot be addressed efficiently if each individual school district tries to meet them alone. To minimize the impact of budget cuts on instructional services to students, public school officials must examine every possible way to streamline administrative and support services so as to maximize cost effectiveness and avoid duplication of effort.

The Solution

Massachusetts has 351 cities and towns and, at last count, 377 operating school districts (includes 46 charter school districts). It also has another 108 non-operating school districts, districts so small that all students are tuitioned into neighboring districts. With so many school districts, it is incumbent upon our state leaders to look for every possible way to effect economies of scale. Regional educational collaboratives are the answer!

Educational service agencies (ESAs)—known as “educational collaboratives” in Massachusetts—have proven to be very effective organizations for providing educational support services. A review of the function of these agencies in other states indicates that most states utilize their regional agencies to offer a much broader range of services than does Massachusetts and save money as a result. By assuming all the routine support functions required to run an effective public education system, educational service agencies free up the state educational department to provide effective leadership and school districts to provide quality student instruction.

Fear of losing local control over an educational activity can certainly be an obstacle to expanding the use of collaboratives in the Commonwealth. However, as budget constraints become more severe and as fiscal year 2004 approaches, that fear may dissipate against the prospect of a drastic reduction in services or a loss of services altogether. As the old adage goes, “necessity is the mother of invention.”

Studies that compare the costs of regional service provision to the costs of individual school district service provision demonstrate that regional ESAs produce substantial savings. Typical savings range from 15 percent to 50 percent (Stanley, 1992). Studies also indicate that ESAs have the potential to improve overall efficiency, quality, and equity of educational opportunity.

In order to make informed decisions about which programs and services can be offered more efficiently on a regional basis, cost analysis, the basic tool of cost-effectiveness study, is required. A detailed discussion of cost analysis appears in Appendix A – Cost Analysis: The Decision-Making Tool.

Which Services Should Be Regionalized?

The activities listed in table 1 are typically assigned to ESAs in other states (Stanley, 1992). Massachusetts should consider regionalizing these and perhaps other school support services by reviewing available cost data and conducting cost analyses.

Composition of Collaborative Regions

Nearly every other state utilizes educational service agencies (ESAs) to provide support services to school districts and to the state education department. In every other state, all school districts belong to one and only one ESA. Therefore, the state can effectively and efficiently utilize its ESAs to support all its school districts.

Despite the large number of Massachusetts collaboratives (32) relative to the size of our state (for example, Pennsylvania has only 29, Texas has only 20, and Connecticut has only 6), roughly one-fourth of Massachusetts school districts are not even members of a collaborative. And several school districts are members of more than one collaborative.

Twelve to fifteen collaboratives, under local governance with state advisement, encompassing all Massachusetts school districts, would be an appropriate number to serve all Massachusetts school districts. Smaller existing collaboratives could be easily incorporated into larger ones, and a new collaborative will need to be developed in northwestern Massachusetts, where there is currently none.

Well-Defined Roles and Responsibilities

Ambiguous roles have contributed to underutilization of collaboratives in Massachusetts. By adopting weak, enabling legislation (MGL Chapter 40, Section 4e) in 1974 instead of pro-active, visionary legislation, the state virtually guaranteed a limited role for collaboratives. Core roles and responsibilities of educational collaboratives must be clearly defined. By utilizing cost analysis, it should be possible to determine, with some degree of confidence, which activities should be regionalized and what the collaboratives’ role should be.

Governance

Each Massachusetts collaborative is governed by a board of directors composed of a representative from each member district school committee or a designee of the school committee, usually the superintendent of schools, and an ex-officio representative of the Department of Education who serves in a non-voting capacity. This structure is dictated by MGL Chapter 40 Section 4e.

Grassroots, local control has generally proven very effective, and when the superintendent serves as the school committee representative on the collaborative board, he or she can act directly on behalf of the district, streamlining the decision-making process. However, a superintendent can sometimes find him- or herself in an uncomfortable position when the interest of the collaborative conflicts with the interest of his/her individual school district. This, combined with the increasingly high turnover rate among superintendents, provides support for a school committee member to serve on the collaborative board instead. School committee members are typically more “connected “ to the community over the long term than today’s superintendents. The Department of Education representative is extremely important to provide necessary linkage to the state, but over the last decade, due to cutbacks in staffing, DOE representatives have generally been absent from collaborative boards.

Funding

Most collaboratives in Massachusetts rely on local tuitions and fees as their primary source of revenue. Other states find it cost effective to distribute some local aid and state grant funds through their ESAs; all school districts can thereby be impacted while the state realizes significant economies of scale, avoids duplication, improves equity among districts, and minimizes the monitoring, record keeping, and other burdensome paperwork involved in tracking grant expenditures from hundreds of individual school districts. The question of how much and what types of state funding should be appropriated directly to collaboratives to provide services to districts would need to be studied and recommendations developed.

The projected cost effectiveness of funding various initiatives through regional collaboratives is a relatively simple and straightforward endeavor, as outlined in Appendix A. Research indicates the total amount of state funds required to fund any given activity at the existing service level would likely average 33 percent less than the current amount required.

Implementation

Five-Stage Process:

Stage I: The proposed Secretary of Education establishes an Office of Collaborative Development (OCD). This office would be headed initially by a consultant Principal Investigator. Depending on the size and scope of the new collaborative initiatives, the office might later be headed by an appointed Associate Commissioner for Collaboratives (a position similar to the Associate Commissioner for Charter Schools).

Stage II: Within the structure of the State Board of Education, the Secretary and/or the Commissioner establishes a Collaborative Advisory Group (CAG) of state and local education officials, staff, parents, and advocates. CAG examines proposed collaborative structures encompassing all Massachusetts school districts, including the available research on cost effectiveness, to decide which educational support functions to regionalize.

Stage III: Working with legislative staff, CAG drafts enabling legislation, which prescribes the constituent districts and functions for each collaborative, including the governance structure.

Stage IV: CAG advises the Secretary and the Commissioner as to required authorizations with expected review and approval timelines from the Massachusetts Legislature, the Office of the Governor, and the Board of Education.

Stage V: Working with the Secretary, the Commissioner and the Office of the Governor, the Principal Investigator convenes an Implementation Committee of CAG members to roll out the Collaborative Implementation Plan statewide. This Implementation Plan announcement will include an explanation of training and technical assistance to be provided by OCD to all collaboratives and LEAs to insure the success of the new initiatives. The plan will also provide for an evaluation system to monitor the quality and cost effectiveness of the new service delivery mechanisms, as well as to provide periodic and annual reports to the Secretary, the Commissioner, and the Board of Education.

Timeline: It is reasonable to expect that the first two stages could be completed within six months. If the third stage is “fast-tracked” by the Governor’s Office, it is probable that collaborative activities could begin as early as July 1, 2004.

Budget and Staffing: In addition to the consultant Principal Investigator, OCD will need a skilled administrative assistant and a budget analyst. Any additional short-term staffing needs required for the various stages of implementation could be addressed most efficiently through a modest consultant line item.

Costs and Benefits

Not much hard research has been done to demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of collaborative programs. However, the results of the following four studies indicate the significant savings that can be realized by adopting a regional approach to educational support services.

The Stanley Study

This research (Stanley, 1992) compared the cost of individual school districts performing six specific services to the projected cost of the districts acting jointly to provide the services. Levin’s (1983) cost-utility (CU) and costbenefit (CB) analyses were utilized to conduct the study (see sidebar).

Actual fiscal year 1990 costs for eight school districts in northeastern Massachusetts were compared to the projected costs of a collaborative service, as determined by the researcher and stakeholders from each of the eight districts participating in the study.

Analyses of the cost data indicated a clear and significant savings in three of the six services studied: shared personnel recruitment/job bank, shared staff for low-enrollment courses, and cooperative purchasing of printing services. Projected savings in these three areas were 39 percent, 78 percent, and 22 percent, respectively. Very slight and insignificant differences in cost were indicated in the grants directory (1.2 percent less expensive) and learning resource library (1.7 percent more expensive). A cost comparison of data-processing services could not be performed because the assessment of a collaborative model by the school districts’ data processing administrators indicated that it was not an option they wanted to pursue at the time.

Southwest and West Central ECSU Study

A comprehensive cost-savings analysis was conducted by the Southwest and West Central Educational Cooperative Service Unit in Marshall, Minnesota (1989). For every service offered by this ECSU, the cost through the ESA was compared to the cost if the ESA were not the service provider. Figures for the 1988-1989 school year (FY 89) were used for all analyses. Results for four major service categories follow:

Special Education: The cost of services through the ECSU was compared to the cost of services through private schools, mental health centers, and hospitals. During the year under study, member districts paid $1,176,101 to the ECSU, while the cost for the same services through the other providers was $3,767,550. The difference of $2,591,449 represents a 69 percent savings to the participating school districts.

Cooperative Purchasing: The cost of supplies purchased through the ECSU joint bid, $3,324,944, was compared to a cost of $4,443,670, resulting in a savings of $1,118,726, or 25 percent. A breakdown of savings by product indicates the following savings:

Film services: The ECSU rental price per film or videotape ($6.84) was compared to the only local alternative available, the film library of the University of Wisconsin, where the cost averaged $21.14 per film or videotape. ECSU fees for this service during fiscal year 1989 were $240,546. The comparison cost would have been $752,909. The ECSU saved $512,363, or 68 percent.

Workshops: The ECSU average daily price per participant for workshops was $27.32. This was compared to an average price of $50 through other sources available to district teachers. During FY 1989, a total of 2,903 educators participated in workshops at a cost of $79,296. The comparative cost was estimated at $145,150. The difference of $65,854 represents a 45 percent savings.

Overall, member school districts of the Southwest and West Central ECSU spent $11,409,798 for collaborative services during fiscal year 1989. Without the benefit of the ECSU, they would have spent an estimated $16,926,415. The difference of $5,516,617 represents overall savings of 33 percent.

Greater Lawrence Educational Collaborative 20-Year Longitudinal Study

Since 1979, the Greater Lawrence Educational Collaborative (GLEC), a consortium of 10 school districts in northeastern Massachusetts, has been comparing its tuition rates and fee schedules for special education programs and services to rates available in the private sector (Stanley, 1995). Each year, GLEC’s rates are compared to the rates of comparable private schools and vendors that are utilized by its member districts. Over the 20-year period between FY 77 and FY 96, Stanley demonstrates that GLEC member districts saved $13,221,163 in special education tuitions alone. This does not include additional savings in transportation costs, gained by having students closer to home than they typically would be if they were attending private schools. Stanley estimates the average savings from interdistrict collaboration to be 33 percent. This is the same figure estimated by the ECSU study described above.

Massachusetts Organization of Educational Collaboratives Study

The Massachusetts Organization of Educational Collaboratives (MOEC, 1988) conducted a survey among its 29 member collaboratives to estimate the savings realized by collaborative programs and services. The survey indicated the following savings:

Although this study was conducted by survey and the estimates of each agency were not able to be verified, it is clear that the savings are indeed significant.

How Does Collaboration Save Money?

Massachusetts school administrators unfamiliar with ESA structures in other states often ask just how a collaborative venture will improve cost effectiveness, efficiency, quality, and equity of educational opportunity. It may help to look at a specific example.

Professional development for educators is an activity that lends itself well to a collaborative model. If districts pooled their local professional development funds through a collaborative and if the state dispersed its professional development district allocations through collaboratives instead of to each individual school district, the savings would be substantial.

In this example, a regional professional development program does the following:

  • Avoids duplication of services. Instead of 15 school districts running 15 afterschool workshops on No Child Left Behind (NCLB), a collaborative might run three workshops on NCLB in three schools spread out across the collaborative area to enable all teachers in the region to attend.
  • Improves efficiency of administration and coordination. Each district would no longer need a full- or part-time professional development coordinator; the entire professional development function would be handled by the collaborative.
  • Saves on printing costs. Each district would no longer have to design and print its own brochures on its professional development opportunities. A larger, more comprehensive schedule of offerings would be distributed to all district educators through the collaborative. In Texas, for example, each of its 20 Educational Service Districts (ESDs) publishes a catalog of several hundred pages of workshops, seminars, and courses available to all educators within the service district.
  • Improves quality. By pooling state and local resources, the collaborative could contract with a presenter with more expertise than an individual district might be able to afford.
  • Improves equity of opportunity. Teachers from smaller and/or poorer districts could avail themselves of the same professional development opportunities available to educators from larger or more affluent districts.
  • Insures standardization. By contracting with fewer presenters, the state Department of Education and its collaboratives could better monitor the content of what is being presented to ensure that all educators are receiving the same information.

This year the Massachusetts Department of Education granted $49.5 million to its school districts for professional development. Next year’s allocation is expected to be the same, according to the DOE’s FY 2004 Request for Proposals #1: Federal Entitlement/ Allocation Grants: March 2003 publication. If state grant funds for professional development were granted to regional collaboratives instead of to individual school districts, and local funds were also leveraged through the collaborative, the current level of services could be provided for substantially less. Applying the documented range of 15 percent to 50 percent savings to the professional development grant funds alone, we can estimate a reduction in costs of $7.43 million to $24.75 million!

If as little as 10 percent of this year’s $3.3 billion Chapter 70 funds were leveraged by local education agencies through collaboratives, the savings statewide could total $49.5 million to $165 million.

Obstacles

Although there are always obstacles to any systemic change, this is an ideal time to introduce a cost-saving regional approach to educational support services in Massachusetts. Some of the obstacles to expanding the use of educational collaboratives in Massachusetts are as follows:

  • First and foremost is the Massachusetts tradition of “local control.” “No, thank you, I’d rather do it myself” could almost be the Massachusetts slogan when it comes to local government. However, we are in a fiscal crisis, and the need to conserve scarce resources has never been greater. It is said that if folks don’t want to give serious consideration to proven cost-saving measures, “they’re just not hungry enough.” Our budget deficit insures sufficient hunger!
  • Second is our reluctance to look at new ways of doing things and review the entrenched systems we have built over the years. However, we now have a new governor who is committed to developing and supporting new ways of providing public services.
  • Our state department of education has a history of being less than supportive of educational collaboratives. They have been viewed as merely one of many providers of special education programs and services, along with private schools. Until recently, collaboratives were virtually unrecognized by the state, deemed ineligible to receive most grant funds, never invited “to the table” to discuss any school issues except for special education. Again, the state’s fiscal crisis may finally prompt the Department of Education to look to other means of getting its job accomplished. Chief State School Officers in other states frequently say they could never do their jobs without their regional units.
  • As is frequently the case, “we are our own worst enemy.” Collaboratives in Massachusetts have each evolved in a unique way and carved their own niches. We have 29 collaboratives in our small state, which is far too many. Texas has only 20, and Iowa has 15. However, in the next five years more than half of the state’s collaborative directors, many of whom have been with their organizations since their inception in the mid-70s, will retire. This is the time to cut the number of regional units to a more manageable number—12 to 15 would be ideal—or to designate a few key collaboratives to fulfill each major role, such as professional development, purchasing, data processing, transportation, etc.
  • Another obstacle, again historical, was Massachusetts’s “false start.” In the early 70s, we created a dual system of regional entities, setting up six regional DOE centers and, at the very same time, enacting loose and permissive legislation for educational collaboratives. Instead of creating special service districts, under regional governance (not regional government), we instead created extensions of state government and informal cooperatives; neither model is efficient. It’s time we correct our previous mistakes and re-design our regional service agencies.
  • Finally, the Massachusetts legislation governing educational collaboratives (MGL Chapter 40 Section 4E) merely allows school districts to enter into collaborative agreements with neighboring districts. Collaboration is entirely voluntary, and collaboratives, by definition, are temporary organizations. What is needed is strong legislation that defines the key features and functions of education collaboratives in Massachusetts.

Replication: Models From Other States

“Regional Governance, Not Regional Government”

Because most states have educational service agencies, there are many models from which to choose if we wish to replicate an ESA structure used by another state. Variables to consider include alternative structures, governance models, functions/roles, and funding mechanisms.

Structure: There are three potential structures for educational service agencies: extensions of the state educational agency, special service districts, and informal cooperatives (the structure now utilized by Massachusetts collaboratives). A combination of features from special service districts and informal cooperatives would work best in Massachusetts and is suggested by Stephens (1991) as perhaps the most effective.

Governance: Two states stand out as potential models for governance of Massachusetts ESAs: Connecticut RESAs (regional educational service agencies) and Colorado BOCESs (boards of cooperative educational services). Both are governed by boards composed of representatives of constituent school committees rather than independently elected governing boards. This maintains the operative construct of “regional governance” as opposed to “regional government,” a very important consideration since we do not want to create a new layer of government in Massachusetts. States whose ESAs are extensions of the departments of education (New York BOCESs and California County Boards of Education, for example) would not work well in Massachusetts, given our need to streamline rather than expand, the role of state government.

Functions/Roles: Nationally, educational collaboratives fill two major roles. 1) They provide cost-effective support services to school districts, including purchasing, professional development, transportation, substitute teachers, data processing, insurance, legal services, and many others. 2) They manage some of the more unwieldy state educational functions, such as district data collection and teacher licensure.

Iowa and Texas offer much for Massachusetts to consider in the area of programming. Texas’ Educational Service Centers (ESCs), for example, offer a complete range of professional development services to districts. Iowa’s Area Educational Agencies (AEAs) provide regional data collection and processing services for their constituent districts and their state department.

Funding: Many ESAs receive most of their funding from their state departments of education. Although it would be a grave mistake for Massachusetts to go in this direction, it must consider the cost efficiencies of decentralizing some of the department’s unwieldy functions such as teacher certification, a function that has ground to a halt due to cumbersome regulations and lack of support personnel. Also, the state could realize significant economies of scale by using collaboratives to administer many of its grant programs. The entrepreneurial spirit of Massachusetts collaboratives should nonetheless be acknowledged and preserved.

Conclusion

As outlined in the Implementation Plan, in order to coordinate a statewide effort, the proposed Secretary of Education should establish an Office of Collaborative Development (OCD) within the Office of the Secretary of Education or the Office of the Commissioner of Education. OCD’s mission would be to enhance and coordinate the Commonwealth’s system of regional collaboratives to serve every Massachusetts school district.

The proposed implementation process suggests the development of a Collaborative Advisory Group (CAG) composed of state and local education officials, staff, parents and advocates. Broad representation must be insured. Legislation amending the existing Chapter 40, Section 4e, will need to be developed. The Massachusetts Organization of Educational Collaboratives has submitted legislation that is pending in committee. This bill should be reviewed and revised as recommended by the Collaborative Advisory Group.

Key to the success of any implementation plan is the backing of the Governor. Therefore, immediate meetings should be scheduled with his key staff to discuss the feasibility of various implementation plans.

The Office of Collaborative Development has the potential to realize staggering economies of scale. Just as the private sector outsources services that support its core function, public resources can and should be pooled among school districts and leveraged for maximum cost effectiveness. The reorganization required to do this will build on existing structures and follow strategies that have proven to be successful in other states.

Appendix A – Cost Analysis: The Decision-Making Tool

The elements of a tested research design follow; the design was developed as part of a doctoral dissertation conducted by the author (Stanley, 1992) at Boston College. The original research involved eight school districts in northeastern Massachusetts, members of the Greater Lawrence Educational Collaborative. The design has been modified to apply to this specific endeavor, namely making accurate and informed decisions about which educational support services should be regionalized within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to realize the greatest cost savings while preserving or even enhancing quality of service and equity of services across districts.

The design focuses on determining the potential difference in efficiency (i.e., cost effectiveness), quality, and equity when a proposed regional collaborative activity is compared to individual school district activities. The design yields a detailed cost comparison between the two options so that potential savings can be calculated.

Broad Representation from Stakeholders: A thorough examination of the potential effectiveness of a new regional activity requires the support and cooperation of many stakeholders. The chances that a collaborative effort will be successful are enhanced if time is spent building a solid foundation of support among key stakeholders.

Therefore, not only should a Collaborative Advisory Group be established before any work has begun, as recommended in the Implementation Plan, but a representative group of educators/school officials responsible for each activity under study should be established. For example, since many of the suggested activities are in the realm of management/administrative services (cooperative purchasing, data processing, fiscal services, maintenance services, transportation), a representative group of school business officials should be involved from the outset.

The researcher must then meet with the stakeholders to develop the regional service delivery model. Their assistance will be vital throughout the study, the recommendation, the approval, and the implementation phases, as the researcher will be relying on them to provide necessary financial and other data.

Development of the Analytic Framework: The regional model developed by the stakeholders must be “costed out” through one of the four types of analysis used to evaluate educational programs and services: cost-effectiveness, cost-benefit, cost-utility, and cost-feasibility (see sidebar on p. 6 for definitions).

Levin’s cost-utility (CU) analysis is usually the most useful of the four types of costanalysis for determining the potential effectiveness of new collaborative service delivery models, as it refers to an evaluation of alternatives according to a comparison of their costs and the estimated utility or value of their outcomes. Cost-utility analysis is appropriate when subjective assessments must be made about the nature and probability of educational outcomes as well as their relative values. Subjective assessments must be utilized when we are dealing with outcomes that cannot be measured accurately in advance, such as student achievement. The stakeholders, therefore, should be the ones who rate the utility of the alternatives, as they are usually in the best position to be able to judge the potential quality of the proposed regional service.

When our primary concern is monetary, such as in considering the savings a regional transportation network or a regional data collection/processing effort might afford to school districts, Levin’s cost-benefit (CB) analysis can be employed, as it refers to the evaluation of alternatives according to a comparison of both their costs and benefits when each is measured in monetary terms. Here we can simply choose the alternative that has the highest ratio of benefits to costs.

Therefore, the activity under study is assigned to one of the four types of analyses, the rationale for each assignment explained and the probable cost ingredients of each alternative described.

Data Collection and Analysis: For activities utilizing cost-utility (CU) analysis, stakeholders are asked to judge the utility or value of the two alternatives (individual school district and ESA) on their estimated efficiency (cost effectiveness), quality of service, and equity across districts. These data are solicited via a questionnaire using a five-point Likert scale, a response of “5” indicating the stakeholder predicts the ESA activity will result in far greater quality, for example, than the individual school district activity and a response of “1” indicating that the stakeholder predicts the ESA activity will result in far less quality than the individual school district activity.

By applying t-tests to the data, the results of the Likert scale questionnaire indicate the level of significance of the stakeholders’ predictions. The t-test is a useful tool, even when working with samples as small as five. Values over .05 are considered significant; generally speaking, the higher the level of significance, the more reliable the prediction. In the author’s experience, significance levels as high as .001 are not unusual, meaning that only one time in a thousand would our results be attributable to chance.

Cost data are collected from audited school district financial reports and financial reports filed with and by the state Department of Education. The cost of individual school district activities can then be accurately compared to the projected cost of a regional activity, using Levin’s model. By utilizing this research design, we now have comparative cost data as well as predictions on relative efficiency, quality, and equity.

Implementation and Evaluation: Armed with these data, an informed and accurate decision can now be made as to which of the many possible educational support services should be regionalized through collaboratives. Three semi-annual formative evaluations and one final summative evaluation are suggested for each new initiative. A two-year time frame is generally adequate to determine if the collaborative model is resulting in savings to the school districts and/or the Commonwealth.

About the Author

With over 30 years in public education, Dr. M. Craig Stanley currently serves as the executive director of the Greater Lawrence Educational Collaborative (GLEC), a multipurpose collaborative comprising 10 school districts in northeastern Massachusetts. He holds a Doctorate in School Administration from Boston College where his area of expertise was school finance. His doctoral dissertation was an analysis of the cost effectiveness of educational collaborative service expansion.

Having served as a member of the Executive Council of the Association of Educational Service Agencies and as President of the Massachusetts Organization of Educational Collaboratives, he has written and lectured extensively on the cost effectiveness of regional educational service delivery.

References
  • Association of Educational Service Agencies. Various papers and publications. Arlington, VA.
  • Batchelder, E. and Stanley, M.C. (1990). MOEC position paper to Massachusetts Department of Education.
  • Levin, H.M. (1983). Cost-Effectiveness: A Primer. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.
  • Massachusetts Organization of Educational Collaboratives (1988). Programs and Services. Framingham, MA.
  • Massachusetts Organization of Educational Collaboratives (1989). Analysis of Savings Survey. Framingham, MA.
  • Minnesota Educational Cooperative Service Units (1988). Information Handbook 1988-1989. Minnesota Department of Education. Marshall, MN.
  • Southwest and West Central Educational Cooperative Service Units (1988). Cost savings analysis 1988-1989. Marshall, MN.
  • Stanley, M.C. (1992). Analyses of Potential Effectiveness of Educational Collaborative Service Expansion. Chestnut Hill, MA. Boston College. Unpublished doctoral dissertation.
  • Stanley, M.C. (1995). Analysis of Savings through Collaboration: A Twenty Year Longitudinal Study. Greater Lawrence Educational Collaborative. Lawrence, MA.
  • Stanley, M.C. (1995). Proving ESAs Save Dollars: A Research Design That Works. Perspectives: A Journal of Research and Opinion about Educational Service Agencies. Volume 1, Number 1. American Association of Educational Service Agencies. Arlington, VA.
  • Stephens, E.R. and Turner, W.G. (1991). Approaching the Next Millennium: ESAs in the Decade of the 1990s. American Association of Educational Service Agencies. Arlington, VA.
  • Stephens, E.R. (1989). A Brief History of State-Sponsored Inter-District Coordination and Some Conjectures About the Future Direction of this Policy Strategy. Far West Laboratory for Educational Research and Development. San Francisco, CA.
  • Stephens, E.R. State Planning for Inter-District Coordination. University of Maryland. College Park, MD.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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