Shared School Services: 
A Common Response to Fiscal Stress 

(Download: School District Shared Services Brief)
(Download: Municipality Shared Service Brief)

John W. Sipple
Associate Professor, Cornell University

Shared Logo

Much has been made recently about the practice of shared municipal and school district services. Shared services are argued to promote enhanced efficiency and cost savings, better quality service and expertise, improved access to limited services, and now a key provision in a proposal by Governor Cuomo: “It requires them to get past their turf and get past their silo..if you want the people in your district to get a tax credit from the state — you’re going to have to take concrete steps vis-a-vis shared services and consolidation.” (Gov. Andrew Cuomo, 1/6/2014)

This research brief, “Shared School Services: A Common Response to Fiscal Stress“, aims to contribute to these discussions using 2013 data from across New York State. This brief illustrates, for the first time, the prevalence and proportion of school districts engaged in 28 distinct services across the state, including a breakdown of practices across urbanicity (e.g., urban, rural) and wealth CRS logo(e.g., low & high need). Highlighting the motivators, obstacles, outcomes and prevalence of shared service arrangements, this brief illustrates the common practices of shared services. Some services are reported to drive efficiency while other services are much more geared toward enhancing service quality without any claims of cost savings (We offer a similar analysis of shared municipal services in a separate brief listed below).

We hope this information promotes local discussions and analyses to identify opportunities and understandings for why a decision may be made to initiate or end a shared service. We also hope that as property tax policy conversations continue, this data will serve as a baseline for the current status of shared service provision across NYS.

We want to thank the NYS Council of School Superintendents for helping us gather the data from School Superintendents across NYS. This brief is part of a broader research project on Inter-municipal Cooperation, which includes a companion brief on shared municipal services using data from counties, cities, towns, villages:

Homsy, G.; B. Qian, Y. Wang and M. Warner (2013). Shared Services in New York State: A Reform that Works, Summary of Municipal Survey in NYS, 2013, Shared Services Project, Dept of City and Regional Planning, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. (

Please contact us should you have any questions or comments about this work. 
(Download: School District Shared Services Brief)
(Download: Municipality Shared Service Brief)

John W. Sipple, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Development Sociology
Cornell University

One thought on “Shared Service Research Brief

  1. Cindy Denkenberger

    As a rural community, we appreciate your acknowledgement of the importance of rural schools in today’s economy and America’s future. Residents in Truxton, NY are working to create an agricultural focus and introduce Spanish in a new elementary charter school setting. We seek support from any educator or organization that could support and enhance these goals. Presently, we are developing our full proposal which would be presented to SUNY Institute in January. Those of us on the committee are particularly anxious to hear of successful primary curriculum that would also meet NYSED standards.


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