Conklin questions School Board's reliance on educational consortium

The School Board member suggested Flagler Schools can handle many of the services that it is contracting with NEFEC.

Colleen Conklin. File photo
Colleen Conklin. File photo
  • Palm Coast Observer
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Flagler County School Board member Colleen Conklin has an annual message every time the district’s contract with the North East Florida Educational Consortium comes up for renewal.

At the board’s June 4 agenda workshop, she began by stating that this would be the last time she brings up this point. Conklin is retiring in November after serving on the board for 24 years.

She complimented the district’s negotiating team for holding down an increase in NEFEC’s services to just $8,204 one year after it increased by over $560,000. The cost of renewing the NEFEC contract for 2024-25 is $3,216,757.

But Conklin questioned if the district has outgrown many of the services NEFEC provides, services the district can handle itself.

NEFEC was created in 1976 to pool resources of small districts in Northeast Florida to provide for better purchasing power and more extensive services than each district would be able to provide individually.

“When NEFEC originally came into being, we were a small county,” Conklin said. “A lot of these services we couldn’t provide. Now I look at some of the contracted services, and we’re rockstars — the technology department, the instructional department. ... I encourage the district to take a look at these services and say, ‘Are we grown up enough?’”

Conklin suggested that, moving forward, the district scale back some of the services in the contract. 

The most expensive of NEFEC’s services which Flagler Schools is contracting is risk management at a cost of $2,511,100. That is the service that benefits the district the most, Superintendent LaShakia Moore said. That service is tied together with some other services that the district would be required to include, Moore said.

“I love the folks at NEFEC,” Conklin said. “It is a critical element we’ve needed over the years, but at what point do we say, ‘We got it’?”


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