Department of Education and Department of Children and Families Achieve More Than $16 Million in Savings

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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES ACHIEVE MORE THAN $16 MILLION IN SAVINGS
Responsible stewardship translates to additional educational resources,
enhanced operational capacity

TALLAHASSEE, Dec. 5, 2012 – In keeping with Gov. Rick Scott’s pledge to create a smarter, more efficient government, two additional state agencies, the Department of Education (FDOE) and the Department of Children and Families (DCF) have earned the “Governor’s Savings Award” for renegotiating contracts resulting in a total of more than $16 million in savings and expanded operational capacity.

Gov. Rick Scott said, “We are committed to providing better value for government services, and the Department of Education and the Department of Children and Families have done a great job in finding savings. The more effective we are at providing critical services at a great value to the taxpayer, the more Florida families will benefit.”

NCS Pearson provides contracted services to develop and administer the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) for FDOE. By recently negotiating an amendment to the contract, FDOE will realize a cumulative savings of $3,286,743 over a two-year period. The savings will be achieved by utilizing web-based (rather than printed) training materials and by reducing the amount of item development tasks in reading and math for spring 2015.

DCF recently renegotiated contracts with GEOCare, Inc. at four state mental health treatment facilities — South Florida State Hospital (SFSH), Treasure Coast Forensic Treatment Center (TCFTC), South Florida Evaluation & Treatment Center (SFETC) and the Florida Civil Commitment Center (FCCC) – which will result in a savings of $3,639,795 over two years and a total of $12,936,532 over the entire contract. The amendment resulted in a reduction of daily bed rates and the provision of 16 additional beds at South Florida State Hospital and Treasure Coast Forensic Treatment Center at a substantially discounted rate without altering the contract scope or quality of service standards.

Department of Education
The largest of FDOE’s contracts, the FCAT is funded with a combination of General Revenue, state trust funds, and federal grant funds. Of the overall savings, $2,096,539 is attributable to the current fiscal year, which includes an achievement of $1,174,062 in General Revenue funds. An additional $642,710 in General Revenue funds will be saved in the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

“Saving more than $3 million through contract negotiations frees up money that will help further our education plans and positively impact student’s lives,” said Interim Commissioner Pam Stewart. “I appreciate the effort by committed staff members that went into making these savings possible.”

The negotiations for the FCAT reductions were primarily conducted by FDOE employees Victoria Ash, Tara Gardner and Renee Luallen.

Department of Children and Families
The Department renegotiated four contracts with GEOCare, Inc. at state mental health treatment facilities that treat individuals who have been civilly or criminally committed.

“Our goal is always to save taxpayer dollars while efficiently serving the people who are in need of treatment,” said Secretary David Wilkins. “This is just one example of how we have been able to reduce costs by millions of dollars through various initiatives and increase the number of people receiving our services.”

GEOCare, a private residential treatment company, administers all services at South Florida State Hospital, Treasure Coast Forensic Treatment Center, South Florida Evaluation & Treatment Center, and the Florida Civil Commitment Center.

The breakout of the savings is as follows:

DCF employees Rob Siedlecki, Malone Smith, Scott Stewart and Tom Lewis played key roles in negotiating the contracts.

About the “Governor’s Savings Award”
The “Governor’s Savings Award” honors state government employees and partnering private-sector companies that work together in the interest of identifying cost savings and avoidances while increasing the effectiveness of government operations.

Since its launch in mid-October 2012, six agencies and four private sector businesses have been lauded for their efforts, which have resulted in a total of more than $50 million in savings and value-added services for Florida’s taxpayers.

Because of its role as a lead agency in fostering cross-cutting strategies for greater efficiencies, the Department of Management Services helps to identify candidates who meet the award criteria for the governor’s consideration. The awards will be presented to recipients in a quarterly reception at the Governor’s Mansion.

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