Press-Republican

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October 20, 2012

Merger study will start soon

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.”

CONSULTANTS

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.

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