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Privatizing public sector work deserves scrutiny

Editorial

Based on the presentations made by HCR Home Care and from the information shared with the media and the public by the legislators, it seems like a wise deal. HCR Home Care officials say they can provide the same level of services at the same level of quality. The company backed up its statements with a proven track record of professionally servicing more than 2,000 patients in a five-county coverage area, and doing so at a profit.

Let’s hope that is the future for the 300 patients here.

Another example of privatization may soon take place in the town of Champlain. The Northeastern Clinton Central School District is doing what the county Legislature did, studying the feasibility of privatizing services. This time, it’s the school district’s bussing services.

The school district’s board of education is obtaining a free cost analysis from a private bus company to investigate how much could be saved — if anything — if the district were to contract with a firm versus continue to employ its own drivers. Though there are concerns over the loss of jobs with such a move, district officials have stated it has been the practice of private firms to bring the currently employed workers under their wing.

Either way, as Gov. Cuomo once said, schools really aren’t in the business of providing jobs; they are in the business of providing a quality education to our children. If money can be freed up for that by privatizing bussing, then why not hand over the keys?

If a cost savings can be proven, it is our sincere hope that the school board does not bow to union pressure and makes the tough decisions we’re all having to make with our personal budgets to make ends meet.

It’s been said that anything the government can do, private industry can do better. That may be a bit of a stretch, but it is worth studying in this economic climate, and if our tax dollars are better spent in the private sector, then that’s where they should be.

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