Battle Ground schools keeping costs down

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Ridgefield — An aggressive waste management program in Battle Ground Public Schools impressed analysts for its contribution to keeping costs down in the district. Waste reduction efforts in Battle Ground schools include having kids learn to properly dispose of recyclables in the cafeteria and the district's decision to take much of its own solid waste to a local transfer station instead of paying for a commercial hauling service. Starting in August 2011, consulting firm Expense Reduction Analysts began a two-year study of district operations in 12 nonlabor budget categories to find ways to cut costs. As the study nears an end, Battle Ground schools spokesman Gregg Herrington said analysts found the district could save $57,000 across the categories it examined, including waste management, telephone services and maintenance. The 12 categories totaled about $5.2 million in district spending budgeted for the 2011-12 school year. The firm reported to the district this month it usually finds clients could cut spending by about 20 percent, but in Battle Ground schools it only found about 1 percent to trim so far. Expense Reduction Analysts doesn't charge an upfront fee for its services, but instead contracts with clients to receive 50 percent of the cost savings it recommends, which in Battle Ground will likely be around $28,500. "I was surprised and shocked at how little we found," said Expense Reduction Analysts Director Mike McAlexander in a press release.