Education Projects

Special Education Cost Savings through Full Regionalization ($173,900)

  • Freetown-Lakeville Regional School District
  • Summary: The newly formed K-12 Freetown-Lakeville Regional School District received funding to create and enhance in-district special education programs.
  • Initial Successes:
    • The District is currently monitoring the decrease in “in district,” special needs students, and will be able to report out on this at the end of the school year.
    • The need for reduced paraprofessional positions, as evidenced by a FY14 budget that calls for reductions in paraprofessional staff.

 

Regionalizing Special Education Services for Children with Dyslexia ($109,000)

  • Manchester-Essex Regional School District
  • Summary:  Several students with disabilities are outplaced to special education schools at a high cost to the district.  Grant funding allowed this district to develop an in-district program for dyslexic students in grades 4 and 5.
  • Initial Successes:
    • Realization of $165,000 in cost avoidance through the initial enrollment of six students in the program.
    • By April, the District will be able to report on increased ready scores of children enrolled in the program, increased knowledge of the program, and a decrease in the number of students placed out of district.

 

Regionalized Technology Support Services ($78,000)

  • Hampshire Regional School District, Chesterfield-Goshen Regional School District, Towns of Southampton, Westhampton, and Williamsburg
  • Summary:  These separate districts share a superintendent and central office and are exploring options of sharing services between the districts.  Additionally, grant funds are allowing the District technology support to create and maintain websites for representative town governments.
  • Initial Successes:
    • Reduced duplication of effort as evidenced by improved timelines of required report submission, consolidated service contracts, and decreased data errors and corrections.
    • Consistent and effective use of free email.
    • Coordinated professional development trainings across five school district.
    • Improved bus route efficiencies as measured by costs, number or routes, review of parent concerns and complaints

 

Expansion of the Southwick-Tolland Regional School District to Add the Town of Granville ($44,000)

  • Southwick-Tolland Regional School District, Town of Granville
  • Summary:  The Town of Granville previously maintained a separate K-8 school district and, utilized grant funding to merge the district into the Southwick-Tolland Regional School District.
  • Initial Successes:
    • Increase administrative efficiencies by working with only one budget.  When reviewing the consolidated budget, efficiencies relative to service and structure will be realized.

 

Monomoy Regional School District Transition ($204,000)

  • Monomoy Regional School District
  • Summary:  Monomoy became the newest regional school district in the Commonwealth when, after several years of study, the school districts of the Towns of Harwich and Chatham consolidated into a new regional district.  Funds from the CIC grant were used to develop a common technology platform and to integrate two disparate systems into one new system.
  • Initial Successes:
    • In April, the District will report on the reduction in processing costs and the increase in efficiencies in processing data.

 

Vocational School District Expansion ($23,975)

  • Northern Berkshire Vocational Regional School District 
  • Summary:  The oldest regional vocational district in the state, NBVST received a grant to add the towns of Cheshire and Lanesborough to the regional agreement.  This will provide representation for the two towns on the regional school committee and will allow the communities to avoid costs over time by paying annual assessments as opposed to tuition.
  • Initial Successes:
    • Development of a blueprint for district expansion, resulting in increased access to quality vocational and technical education and student enrollment.
    • Increased fiscal and operational efficiencies in pupil transportation regarding contractual bus routes, inclusion in regional transportation, greater educational administrative functions and improved participation as voting members of the regional school committee.

 

Southeast Technology Network ($199,690)

  • Bridgewater-Raynham Regional School District; South Shore Vocational Technical High School; Whitman-Hanson Regional School District; Towns of Abington, Avon, Hanover, Hingham, Holbrook, and West Bridgewater, and North River Collaborative
  • Summary:  Working with 11 school districts, the North River Collaborative developed a regional technology network to efficiently address identified shared technology needs of school districts to increase capacity through shared resources..  The project will prepare teachers to implement best practices in technology integration, create technology teacher leaders in participating districts, and establish a process and online system through which teachers can share effective technology infused lessons.
  • Initial Successes:
    • Technology audits were completed for each of 12 districts/educational collaboratives with the identification of cost efficiencies and cross district needs.
    • A shared approach to student achievement data analysis to support instructional decision making was established across multiple school districts.
    • Nearly 100 educators and technology leaders were trained to implement best practices in instructional technology integration, and an online system for sharing technology infused lessons across districts was established. (Website: http://nrctech.weebly.com)
    • Centralized Technology Help Center will be established and used by at least two districts in accordance with audit findings and district analysis by April.
    • Established a structure for group procurement of technology products that resulted in savings of 25-50% on required start-up costs and 15-25% on annual licenses for technology applications related to educator evaluation, student achievement, and web-based learning platforms for districts in the southeast region of the state.

 

Environment/Public Works Projects

Regionalizing Municipal Storm Water Management in Central Massachusetts through Collaborative Education, Data Management, and Policy Development ($310,000)

  • Towns of Spencer, Auburn, Charlton, Dudley, Holden, Leicester, Millbury, Oxford, Paxton, Shrewsbury, Sturbridge, Webster, and West Boylston
  • Summary: New EPA requirements can be expensive for many small communities.  Working together, these towns were able to combine resources to develop comprehensive systems to generate the necessary data and to inform the public of issues involving storm water.
  • Initial Successes:
    • Enhancement of storm water management programs through the accomplishment of deliverables including a training DVD, website, salt/sand tree, sump pump policy, and general services RFP.
    • Removal of redundancy through the standardization of a salt/sand application decision tree and a standardized sump pump policy.
    • Achievement of an economy of scale by engaging with one lead consultant on all deliverables for a total cost of $310,000, as opposed to projected costs of $200,000 per community if work was completed individually.
    • Purchase of advanced survey equipment to be shared by the 13 communities rather than each community purchasing its own equipment for data processing and collection.

Regional Equipment Sharing Cooperative ($58,000)

  • Towns of Brookfield, Brimfield, East Brookfield, Warren, and West Brookfield
  • Summary: These five communities have been unofficially sharing equipment for several years.  After a tornado struck the area in the spring of 2011, the communities decided to develop an official system of sharing highway equipment that is necessary for all five towns.  Grant funds allowed for the purchase of a sign making machine and an asphalt roller, and the development of a formal agreement.
  • Initial Successes:
    • Development of a comprehensive intermunicipal agreement
    • Implementation of a five-town purchasing program.

 

Shared Municipal Portable Closed Loop Pressure Wash Water Recycle System for Commercial Fishing Fleets in Harwich and Chatham ($25,500)

  • Towns of Harwich and Chatham
  • Summary: These two participating communities utilized grant funds to secure a piece of equipment to expedite the cleaning of commercial fishing boats.
  • Initial Successes:
    • Increased number of boats utilizing the portable closed loop system.
    • Increased amount of wash water collected and disposed of at the end of the fishing season.

 

Pioneer Valley Conservation Commissions Compact ($132,455)

  • Pioneer Valley Planning Commission 
  • Summary: Grant funding was utilized to develop a compact to provide technical assistance the region’s communities and land trusts for land conservation, open space, and wetland protection.
  • Initial Successes:
    • Increased protection of wetlands, as evidenced by reviews in each participating community and as reported on in April.
    • Increased community access to open space, as evidenced by boundary marking and conservation restriction monitoring.  This has been completed on the McDonald property in Wilbraham, and will be completed on multiple other properties.
    • Increased protection of open space, as evidenced by the submission of land grant applications and purchase of open space.  This has been completed for 134 acres in Southwick, and 4.2 miles of rail corridor for Southampton Greenway connecting 400 acres of open space, and the negotiation of the Burke property donation and conservation restriction in Hatfield.

 

Civic Engagement Projects

Commonwealth Citizens Connect App Development for Local Governments Across Massachusetts ($400,000)

  • City of Boston
  • Summary:  In 2009, the City of Boston developed a smart phone application to allow residents to report non-emergency issues, such as a pothole, to city government.  Grant funds were utilized to bring this app to 35 other communities from across the Commonwealth.
  • Initial Successes:
    • Number of participating municipalities (35)
    • Aggregate population of participating municipalities (Over 1.8 million)
    • Number of downloads of the app, as reported on in May.
    • Ratio of downloads of the app to the population of participating municipalities, as reported on in May.

 

Online Municipal Services and Systems Projects

Digital Regionalization: Permit, License, and Inspection Automation ($500,000)

  • Cape Cod Commission, Towns of Barnstable, Brewster, Chatham, Dennis, Eastham, Falmouth, Harwich, Mashpee, Orleans, Nantucket, Provincetown, Sandwich, Truro, Wellfleet, and Yarmouth.
  • Summary:  The Cape Cod Commission received funding to develop a regional system of online permits.  The Commission procured the services of the vendor Acela to establish an automated solution for all permits and licenses issued by each of the participating communities.
  • Initial Successes:
    • Permits offered by 3 of the participating communities are 100% functional.
    • Complete number of towns opting into the system, as reported on in May.
    • Decrease in the transaction time necessary to process permits and licenses, as reported on in May.
    • The number of times users check the status of their project online as opposed to the telephone, as reported on in May.
    • The number of transactions taking place during non-traditional work hours, as reported on in May.

 

Cloud-based Open Source Integrated Municipal Financial Management ($290,710)

  • Town of Royalston and other municipal members of the Community Software Consortium (CSC)
  • Summary:  The Community Software Consortium (CSC) is a nonprofit group established over 20 years ago to assist communities with their financial reporting requirements in the Division of Local Services (DLS)’s Gateway reporting system.  Working with the Town of Royalston as the lead, the CSC utilized grant funds to establish cloud-based assessing and tax collecting systems.
  • Initial Successes:
    • 100% of developed software modules successfully address the design criteria established in the requirements phase, as reported on in April.
    • 100% of applications will be accessible from any internet-ready device and that complex reports or forms show acceptable performance service levels, as reported on in April.
    • 100% of applications will have working controls to manage community-specific identification and authorization, as reported on in April.
    • Increase in the number of communities interested in converting to and adopting the resulting software applications, as reported on in April.

 

Berkshire On-Line Municipal Building Permits ($110,835)

  • Berkshire Regional Planning Commission; Towns of Becket, Dalton, Lee, Monterey, Lenox, Richmond, and Sheffield
  • Summary:  Grant funds allowed the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission to work with seven communities to develop an online building permitting system.  Funds were utilized to purchase software and field equipment and to implement the program.
  • Initial Successes:
  • Implementation in 100% of participating communities, as reported on in April.
    • Improved service delivery, as reported by the number of officials receiving PermitEyes software training, the number of municipal inspectional officials fully functional in the software, the number of inspectional violations, the number of “hits” to the website, and the number of Certificates of Occupancy and Inspection offered, as reported on in April.

 

Performance Management Projects

Massachusetts Statewide Performance Management Program ($373,000)

  • Amesbury, Lowell, Somerville, Woburn, and Worcester
  • Summary:  These five communities partnered with the Collins Center at UMass Boston to develop a regional system of municipal performance management.  Funds were utilized to subsidize the StatNet program, a group that any municipality can join and which meets four times per year to discuss specific areas of interest, such as E911 response times or DPW fleet maintenance.  Additionally, CIC funds were used to hire five analysts at the Collins Center who worked with 20 communities, chosen through a competitive process, to develop CitiStat or similar performance management programs in each community.  Each analyst worked with a portfolio of four municipalities, providing direct service on data collection, analysis, and performance management program development.
  • Initial Successes:
    • Number of communities recruited to participate, as reported on in April
    • Number of workshops held, as reported on in April.
    • Number of standard indicators developed and presented for adoption, as reported on in April
    • Net number of communities that choose to participate in program and adopting standard indicators and reporting structure, as reported on in April.
    • Number of hits to website, as reported on in April.
    • Number of operational efficiencies implemented that can be attributed to the program, as reported on in April.

 

Public Health Projects

Franklin County Cooperative Public Health Service ($119,375)

  • Franklin Regional Council of Governments, Towns of Buckland, Charlemont, Deerfield, Gill, Hawley, Monroe, Granby, and Plainfield
  • Summary:  Led by the FRCOG, these towns worked together to develop a regional public health district organized under Chapter 40, Section 4a.  The program is governed by an oversight board and employs a fully credentialed health agent and a registered public health nurse.
  • Initial Successes:
    • 100% of restaurants will be in compliance with the food code, as reported in April.
    • 100% of camps and pools will be in compliance with the codes, as reported on in April.
    • Improved Board of Health governance through the establishment of a regional oversight committee, as reported on in April.
  • Press:
    • Shores, Chris, “Lt. gov. praises public health district as regionalization success,” The Recorder, Thursday, February 28, 2013.

 

Berkshire Public Health Alliance Public Health Nurse Program ($47,500)

  • Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, Towns of Adams, Alford, Becket, Clarksburg, Dalton, Egremont, Great Barrington, Hancock, Lanesborough, Mt. Washington, New Marlborough, North Adams, Peru, Richmond, Sandisfield, Savoy, Sheffield, Washington, West Stockbridge, Williamstown, Windsor
  • Summary:  The Berkshire Public Health Alliance consists of 21 communities in Berkshire County that developed the Alliance with support from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.  CIC funders were used to develop a regional public health nursing program.
  • Initial Successes:
    • Increased number of communities served by the program, as reported in April.
    • Increased number of residents served by the program, as reported in April.
    • Increase in types and numbers of public health nursing services provided, as reported on in April.
    • Increase in the number of communities who have indicated intent to join the program in future years, as reported in April.

 

Provision of Electronic Food Inspections ($15,000)

  • Towns of Ashland, Medway, and Hopkinton
  • Summary:  Over the last several years, these three Metrowest Towns lost, due to budget cuts, part time food inspectors.  This time consuming task fell to the directors of public health in each community.  The grant allows for the purchase of tablets and wireless printers that are shared by the communities and that allow them to perform inspections in a timely fashion.
  • Initial Successes:
    • Decreased length of time for inspections, as reported on in April.
    • Increased number of inspections completed, as reported on in April

 

Public Safety Projects

Ashland-Hopkinton Fire Services Collaborative ($175,000)

  • Towns of Ashland and Hopkinton
  • Summary:  The Towns of Ashland and Hopkinton are developing a plan, which will be presented to stakeholders in both communities, to consolidate their fire departments.  Grant funds are being used to define an organizational framework for the governance, operations, and financing of a joint department, which will be presented to the Town Meetings for approval in spring 2014.
  • Initial Successes:
    • Identification of several intermediate initiatives to improve collaborative operations that the departments are beginning to implement immediately.
    • Development of an organizational framework for a combined department will be completed in time to be presented to the Boards of Selectman for approval in July.

 

NoFIRES- Northwestern Juvenile Fire Intervention Response, Education, and Safety Partnership ($47,000)

  • Northampton, Springfield, Greenfield, Chesterfield, Easthampton, Granby, Montague, Turners Falls and Ware
  • Summary:  This project established a regional and multidisciplinary approach to reducing the incidents of juvenile fire setting and the enhancement of overall public safety.  The program developed a regional referral, intervention and service model to provide a comprehensive response system to juvenile fire setting incidents and behavior for youths ages 5 to 17.
  • Initial Successes:
    • Successfully obtained 501(c)(3) nonprofit status at both the state and federal levels.
    • Developed and implemented an active Board of Directors with oversight of the entire program.
    • 34 youth have been screened and educated on the dangers of fire starting
    • Increased number of referrals to the program, to be reported on in April.
    • Improved parent satisfaction with the program, as measured through surveys and as reported on in April.

 

Franklin County Regional Dog Officer Control and Kennel ($19,900)

  • Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG), Greenfield, Bernardston, Buckland, Colrain, Conway, Deerfield, Erving, Gill, Heath, Montague, Warwick, and Whatley.
  • Summary:  Animal control is a major issue for many small communities, especially those that lack trained and certified staff.  Working with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, funding allowed the FRCOG to develop a regional dog kennel in a building donated by the Town of Montague.  The director of the kennel is an employee of the sheriff’s office, and the program is supervised by a steering committee consisting of representatives from each participating community.
  • Initial Successes:
    • While dollar figures are not yet available, anecdotally police officers have noted that time is saved by having a set location to drop off stray dogs.  Additionally, further unqualified people (Selectboard members, town administrators, ect.) do not have to take the time to find a dog’s owner or deal with a dog without an owner.
    • Since May over 90 stray dogs have been kenneled at the new facility and 23 dogs have been adopted.
    • The kennel has raised over $5,000 in donations.

 

Southeast Fire Department Electronic Records and Permitting Collaborative ($76,800)

  • Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District (SRPEDD), Taunton, Seekonk, North Attleboro, Stow, Swansea, Somerset, Freetown, Dighton, Westport and Fall River
  • Summary: Hosted by the SRPEDD, this program provides online permitting capabilities to fire departments in Southeastern Massachusetts.  Residents and businesses can now file for permits offered by fire departments, such as burning permits, through a secure online portal.
  • Initial Successes:
    • 20% adoption of “permittees” in the first year, as reported on in April.
    • Increased interested in expanding the scope of e-Permitting to other areas.  Six of the participating towns are moving ahead with expanding e-permitting solutions into their building and health departments.

 

Facilities Management Projects

Centralized Facility and Infrastructure Asset Maintenance System ($46,000)

  • Town of Hanover
  • Summary:  The Town of Hanover recently transferred the management of all town and school facilities to the Department of Public Works.  Given this new management structure, the town is interested in building a centralized maintenance organization to operate and maintain all of the town’s building and traditional infrastructure assets.  Grant funds were utilized to enhance this centralized system by allowing residents to report building issues via mobile devices, and purchasing mobile devices for staff to use to report the completion of work orders.
  • Initial Successes:
    • Increased hits on their website, increased use of Cartegraph Mobile, and YourGov, and improved citizen access to government will be reported on in April.
    • Development of a centralized maintenance organization and its information systems.
    • Completely switched from the Town’s internally developed work order system to the Cartegraph and SchoolDude systems to drive horizontal and vertical work respectively.

 

Consolidation of IT and Maintenance Services ($28,211)

  • Town of Middleborough
  • Summary:  Grant funding allowed the town and school sides to consolidate their information technology and facilities management system.  Funds were used to place both town and school functions on the same web based application for help desk and asset management. The town and school department used budgetary funding to hire a joint Technology Systems Administrator.
  • Initial Successes:
    • Increased access by maintenance and technology staff to maintenance and technology request data.
    • Development of progress updates on work orders to keep the requesters informed.

 

Other Projects

Shared Transportation Resources Among Five Municipalities and One Business in the Acton Region ($184,575)

  • Towns of Acton, Boxborough, Littleton, Maynard, and Stow
  • Summary:  Each of these five communities had limited transportation options.  This grant allowed the towns to work with Clock Tower Place Office Park in Maynard to develop a regional transportation system by sharing their transportation resources, such as Council on Aging vans.
  • Initial Successes:
    • Development of a plan to sustain and continue the program.
    • Conduct outreach to other communities in the region to ascertain their interest in joining the program, which resulted in the addition of the communities of Westford and Concord.

 

Libraries as Part of Emergency Response Teams ($29,967)

  • Town of Andover
  • Summary:  After the fall storm of 2011, the Memorial Hall Library realized that it became a hub for people to congregate, stay warm, and interact with others.  The library used grant funding to enhance the library’s role as an information center through the development of information kiosks.  This project also served as the impetus for the library director to become part of the town’s emergency response team.
  • Initial Successes:
    • Success will be measured by survey responses and usage statistics gathered after the electronic bulletin board system has been fully implemented.