The Idaho State Board of Education appointed a subcommittee of board members to delve into recommendations from a consulting firm on ways to consolidate services for improved efficiency at Idaho’s four-year institutions.
A report from Huron, a Chicago-based consulting firm, stated the potential savings is as high as $38 million if certain services and functions are consolidated at the University of Idaho, Lewis-Clark State College, Idaho State University and Boise State University.
At a special meeting Friday morning, board members Andrew Scoggin, David Hill and Richard Westerberg were appointed to identify a timeline and pinpoint what items will be undertaken.
“Frankly, I think it’s an exciting opportunity for us to really take some action around the idea of systemness,” Board President Linda Clark said.
The report from Huron listed near-term, intermediate and long-term opportunities focused on labor duplication, purchasing power and information technology systems.
“While there are some areas in which the board could immediately start implementation, other long-term opportunities could take a year or more to initiate,” according to board information.
Possible ways to increase efficiency include consolidating staff, negotiating contracts across the institutions for pricing on items like office supplies and self-insurance options. Long-term opportunities include centralizing staff in areas like finance and human resources to one location, and upgrading the institutions to the same cloud-based platforms.
Huron began the review of services and personnel at each institution in early September. The company presented its findings at a December board meeting. The company was hired following a recommendation made by former Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s Higher Education Task Force. The review was funded by the Legislature.
“This was a thorough study and report done in a very short period of time,” Clark said during the December meeting. “Huron gave us good direction for how we can go about consolidating services. We as a board need to study this further and work with policymakers to decide what the next steps should be.”
The subcommittee will work with a consultant. Its findings will later be presented to the board for consideration.