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OXNARD : Schools to Explore Merging Services

Officials from eight Ventura County school districts agreed Tuesday to further explore a proposal to combine various school services to help cut operating expenses.

Representatives of each of the school systems expressed initial support for the idea during a meeting at the Oxnard Union High School District, which initiated the proposal. Officials decided to meet again late next month to hammer out specific ways they can merge transportation, food, maintenance, purchasing and warehouse operations.

“It’s all very exploratory,” said Howard Hamilton, associate superintendent of Pleasant Valley School District. “But everybody is cutting back, and we’re all looking for ways to save a dime.”

In addition to Hamilton, representatives of Oxnard, Hueneme, Ocean View, Somis, Rio and Mesa Union elementary schools attended the three-hour meeting.

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Donald Hodes, chief administrator of the 80-square-mile Ocean View district, said he is most interested in consolidating transportation services with other school systems. Hodes said 80% of the 2,400 students in his district are bused, some from as far away as the Los Angeles County line.

He said it costs the district more than $100,000 each year to subsidize the transportation service.

“If we can save dollars and still maintain services, heck yeah, we’ll go for it,” Hodes said of consolidation.

William Studt, superintendent of the Oxnard high school district, said he was pleased with the response from all of the school administrators.

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He said the district plans to hold another meeting next month to discuss what services each of the school systems are interested in combining. Once that is done, he said, the districts can begin working on implementing the plans.


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