District has -- and will continue -- to try to cut expenses
One of the top priorities of the Dublin City School District's Business Affairs Department is to constantly examine the district's business operations in an effort to find ways to become more and more efficient.
With more than 20 schools, a huge transportation complex, a Central Office, and thousands of acres of land to maintain, the business side of the district's operation is complex.
During the past five years, we have been relentless in our efforts to find ways to reduce expenditures.
I'd like to share just a few of our successes with you in this article and briefly discuss our plans for the future.
We have streamlined high school bus routes, reducing the number of routes and the number of stops on each route.
Non-public school routes have been consolidated to improve efficiency.
Field trips are closely tracked and tools have been put in place to provide trip cost estimates and all schools must stay within their field trip budgets.
The cumulative impact of these changes has been reducing the number of miles driven by our buses per year by 185,000 miles, resulting in 28,000 gallons of fuel saved.
Adopted in the fall of 2010, a comprehensive preventative bus maintenance program has begun to pay dividends.
In-house mechanics have saved the District thousands through their ability to service our buses and the philosophy of addressing small problems before they become bigger has improved the safety and reliability of our bus fleet.
We have also begun the process of examining whether compressed natural gas is a feasible and cheaper alternative to diesel fuel for our buses.
Our department has started to take more advantage of the expertise of our staff.
Recently, we have used in-house staff to renovate the Dublin Technology Center, various repairs and upgrades at facilities districtwide, HVAC repairs, and more.
Additionally, an automated maintenance work order system has improved efficiency and allowed maintenance staff to address problems quicker, and to create a complete log of how the issue was addressed.
The past two summers, we have saved more than $235,000 through an alternative summer work schedule for 12-month employees.
A combination of renegotiated natural gas contracts and the District's commitment to its 15-year energy conservation program netted more than $1-million in savings last year, compared to the 2011-12 school year.
Other energy efficiency improvements include: temperature set point adjustments, occupancy sensors for lighting, replacement of inefficient lighting, light bulb replacement, automated computer shut down and more.
Additional savings have been realized in the areas of custodial substitute scheduling procedures, environmentally friendly equipment, and the reduction of maintenance staff overtime.
Our food service department continues to seek additional efficiencies and recently saved $35,000 by renegotiating pricing from the District's milk vendor.
It is important to note food service is entirely self-sufficient and does not use any general fund dollars to operate.
While we must take the time to celebrate these successes, we won't be resting on our laurels.
The district is going to apply for a Straight A Fund grant in hopes of systematically improving efficiency across the organization.
If the grant is received, some District employees will obtain Masters Degrees in Operational Excellence from the The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business and be trained in the "Lean Six Sigma" concepts.
Lean Six Sigma is a managerial philosophy used by many private sector companies.
The concept of Lean Six Sigma is to employ a methodology known as "DMAIC" (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control) which refers to a data-driven improvement process.
If the grant is received, a portion would be used to work with Cardinal Health to train Dublin City Schools employees in the Lean Six Sigma philosophies.
The program is structured similar to a karate program and identifies different levels of expertise with belts.
Once an employee achieves the black belt level of expertise, he or she can then train other employees in the concepts.
The district should receive notice of the grant application's status in December.
We welcome our community's ideas regarding increased efficiencies. You can share those with us at info@dublinschools. net.
Annette Morud, Dublin City School District director of business affairs submitted the School Notes column.