TICONDEROGA — With a state grant in hand, Ticonderoga and Crown Point Central School districts are preparing to study whether consolidation would benefit them.
Ticonderoga School Superintendent John McDonald Jr. said a State Local Government Efficiency Grant for $45,000 was just awarded to the districts.
The schools had been waiting to see if they got approval for the grant, he said, and the study will now proceed.
“We’ll appoint an advisory committee together, gather information. Some things will take place this year.”
The districts are interested in hiring Castallo and Silky, an educational consulting firm from Syracuse that helped with the grant application.
When it starts depends on the availability of the consultant, McDonald said.
“We’d like to hire the people (Castallo and Silky) who got this rolling. We contacted them. We have a lot to do.”
McDonald is the lead applicant designee for the grant, which has a $5,000 local share that would be split between Ticonderoga and Crown Point school districts.
“The study itself will take a year,” he said. “The earliest it (consolidation) could happen would be July 2014. “
VOTES BY PUBLIC
If Ticonderoga and Crown Point school boards voted to merge the schools, each district would then have to hold two public referendums: both advisory votes and final votes.
All four votes would have to be in favor of consolidation for it to take place, Crown Point Superintendent Shari Brannock said by email.
“As the study progresses, there is a requirement that taxpayers in both communities have two opportunities to vote, and they will make the final decision about how we operate in the future. We are fortunate, in these tough fiscal times, to have the grant to help us secure our future.”
The feasibility study will examine whether there would be cost and logistical savings from a merger and detail how a merger would be accomplished.
The two schools are about 10 miles apart. Both districts are now kindergarten through 12th grade, and both schools have declining enrollments. Crown Point has 280 students, while Ticonderoga has 900. Ten years ago Crown Point was at about 350 and Ticonderoga at 1,100.
CONSIDERED IN 1958
Brannock said the State Department of Education last looked at a reorganization plan for Crown Point and Ticonderoga in 1958, so the study will give them up-to-date information to work with.
“CPCS is being proactive in its efforts to use the local efficiency grant to explore the business of education in both districts,” Brannock said. “The purpose of the grant is to fund a study that will help both communities determine ways we can become more efficient, share services and possibly reorganize in a manner beneficial to all stakeholders.”
In 1979, Hague Central School District was annexed to Ticonderoga, after several previous votes had failed. With annexation, only the district being annexed votes, and that school is usually closed, as Hague was.
With a merger, which is what the grant will study, both schools could remain open or new facilities could be constructed.
In 1967, Mineville and Port Henry schools merged to become Moriah Central School and a new central facility was built.
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