Chenango Forks, Chenango Valley begin merger study
1/8/2013 (Updated 11:07:40 PM)(Source: Jeremy Donovan)
PORT DICKINSON -- The two high schools are just four miles apart. But how long will Chenango Forks and Chenango Valley continue to operate as separate entities?
Discussion continues regarding what a combined school district would look like. Tuesday night at Chenango Valley Middle School, the Merger Advisory Committee held its first of six monthly meetings.
"This is both districts going out of business and creating a new district," said Dennis Sweeney, Merger Study Consultant.
The committee's job is not to recommend whether or not to merge but to form a plan regarding how a merger would affect specific elements of the schools.
"If they merge what would it look like. What would it mean to students what would it mean to parents in terms of transportation," Sweeney said. "What would it mean in terms of administration, staff, and financing, those aspects of operation."
But with two passionate communities, merger talks are often difficult.
"They're not the easiest things to do because they're community cultures, long terms associations with school districts, attachments that everybody has," Sweeney said.
But for students, a merger would mean a bigger school, creating more opportunities.
"With increasing school sizes, you also need more teachers to teach because you'll have more students," said Andrew Ziegenfus, a Chenango Forks Junior and Committee Member. "I know at Forks we've had a lot of cuts made and teachers being cut so I think it'll give us an opportunity to participate in more classes."
The committee must submit a proposal to the state by July 1st at which point it will be approved or denied. If approved, each district must approve it independently in order for a merger to occur. If both boards agree, the vote will go to the taxpayers.
The earliest the districts could merge would be the 2014-15 school year.
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