Eco-Cow Services

John grew up on his family farm in rural Maryland. After attending the University of Maryland in the suburbs of DC, he began his career in education as a teacher in the DC Public School system, but quickly rose to become superintendent within a decade. As superintendent, he noticed how much money was being spent on non-educational services like lawn care for the schools that he oversaw, and he really wanted to save that money in order to re-invest it in more teachers and school supplies for the children. 

He wrestled with the problem of how to cut this spending for years until he went home for Thanksgiving one year to his family farm. He saw all of the cows on the farm eating grass, and it hit him: Why not use cows instead of landscaping companies to mow the lawns for all of the schools in his district? He stayed up all night crunching numbers, and figured out he could save millions for the school and still make a nice profit selling the service itself to the school districts. It was a win-win!

Despite crunching the numbers and feeling confident about the savings it would offer to schools, he wanted to perform due diligence on the idea to make sure it was rock solid. To start, he crafted a short survey that he passed out to his other superintendent colleagues across the city. 

Below are 4 responses that he received from that survey. 

 

Response #1: Laila 

Question 1: Describe your experience dealing with lawn care for the schools in your district as a superintendent?

We are not very happy with our current solution at all. Law requires us to use a contracted company, but none of the schools in my district actually have that much green space that needs to be mowed. As a result, we pay too much money for the contracted company to complete the work since they have crews and lots of equipment. I am, however, happy with the work that they do. I just wish I could pay less for the same quality of service.

Question 2: Given your experience, would you be interested in Eco-Cow Services as an alternative to this situation? Why/Why not?

I am definitely interested in learning more. As I mentioned, we pay too much for our current solution, so I am interested in a lower price point. However, because we do not have that much grass to mow, I do not know if it is even worth the effort to weigh the pros and cons of switching contracts to save a bit of money on lawn mowing alone. I think there would need to be at least three more areas for cost savings before I would consider moving forwards.

Question 3: What other uses could you see our cows having for your school district?  

If there were at least three extra services that the cows could perform that would help me save money in some other areas, I would most likely be interested in going with Eco Cow Services. Some other areas of importance for me include the cost of milk and dairy products for school lunches, activities for the after-school students, hands-on activities for our middle school biology classes, and attractions for our yearly school fair.  

Response #2: Mark

Question 1: Describe your experience dealing with lawn care for the schools in your district as a superintendent?

I was just appointed as superintendent with the understanding that I would cut costs. Since I am new, I have not had much experience in dealing with lawn care. I have had a chance to go over my district's budget, however, and I think there is opportunity to cut costs in that sector.

Question 2: Given your experience, would you be interested in Eco-Cow Services as an alternative to this situation? Why/Why not?

As I mentioned, I was recently appointed superintendent with the understanding that I would cut costs. I am just becoming familiar with all of the opportunities do so, and I find Eco-Cow Services an interesting option. However, there is pressure on me to cut costs, so I would be most interested in the service if the company could help out in other areas as well: why stop at just mowing lawns?

Question 3: What other uses could you see our cows having for your school district?  

I would really be happy with any additional chances for cost savings. Some that I can think of right now are using cows as security guards as well as lawn mowers, adding additional classes that include farm-to-table concepts and teaching how to treat cows well, using the cows to make milk/dairy products for school lunches, and using the methane from cows in order to lower our gas bill in the winter. 

 

RESPONSE #1: James

Question 1: Describe your experience dealing with lawn care for the schools in your district as a superintendent?

We are absolutely tired of the contractor that we have been using for lawn care. Each year they raise their prices by 5%, they sometimes fail to show up during the scheduled maintenance, and they often fail to do weeding on the lawns. 

Question 2: Given your experience, would you be interested in Eco-Cow Services as an alternative to this situation? Why/Why not?

I would be very interested in Eco-Cow Services. For me, the cost savings are pretty clear, and I think that the students would enjoy the novelty of having cows on school grounds as well. 

Question 3: What other uses could you see our cows having for your school district?  

I cannot think of any off the top of my head.

RESPONSE #1: Stephanie

Question 1: Describe your experience dealing with lawn care for the schools in your district as a superintendent?

We have a fixed, five year contract with a company that my predecessor renewed 2 years ago and it would be extremely costly for me to break the contract. I am told that the contract was convenient to sign at the time since it allowed school administrators to not have to think about lawn care every year and instead focus on our students.

I must admit that I like not having to think about it on a yearly basis, but I do find the contract to be excessively expensive and that, because we signed the five year contract, the contractor's service seems to slip from time to time as a result. 

Question 2: Given your experience, would you be interested in Eco-Cow Services as an alternative to this situation? Why/Why not?

I would be very interested in reviewing your service at the end of our current contract because I like the idea of the cost savings. One concern that I do have, however, is the potential liability of having cows escape school grounds. I can only imagine the lawsuits that would come in from our neighbors if cows were running amok in DC. Any solution would need to address that issue.

Question 3: What other uses could you see our cows having for your school district?  

Right now, I want to focus on continuing to strengthen learning programs for my students, but am happy to review any additional services that you come up with between now and when we start to consider renewing our contract in 3 years.

 

Now, help John analyze the responses and figure out how best to proceed with his idea:

 
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