Press-Republican

December 17, 2012

Volunteers sought for school-merger committee

By LOHR McKINSTRY
Press-Republican

---- — CROWN POINT — School boards in Crown Point and Ticonderoga are looking for a few dedicated citizens to serve on a district consolidation-study advisory committee.

Ticonderoga School Superintendent John McDonald Jr. said they need five community members, two teachers, a support staff worker and an administrator from each district.

“Both communities are looking for five representatives (each) to serve. They need to be willing to commit to the process and attend all meetings,” he said. 

“Interested persons should contact the superintendent’s office in each community, and the school boards will make the actual appointments. 

“This is an open process, and we welcome everyone’s input.”

CONSULTANT HIRED

The committee will be appointed by Ticonderoga and Crown Point school boards at their January 2013 meetings.

The two districts recently received a $45,000 state grant to study merging and hire a professional consultant. The schools hired Castallo and Silky, Education Consultants of Syracuse; Alan Pole and Jessica Cohen are working on the project.

The advisory committee will meet with the consultants periodically, and the firm will prepare the report on the feasibility of consolidating the Ticonderoga and Crown Point school districts.

When the report is ready, the committee will vote on whether to recommend merging the districts.

The first session is at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 30, at Crown Point Central School. A tour of the school for committee members will be held at 5:45 p.m. The meetings are open to the public.

DECLINING ENROLLMENT

For a merger to occur, there must be affirmative votes by the advisory board, each school board and the residents of each school district. Any negative vote kills a possible consolidation.

The earliest any merger could take place is July 2014.

“As the study progresses, there is a requirement that taxpayers in both communities have opportunities to vote, and they will make the final decision about how we operate in the future,” Brannock said in a statement. “We are fortunate, in these tough fiscal times, to have the grant to help us secure our future.”

Even if a merger doesn’t take place, the districts may find ways to save money by sharing services, McDonald said. The districts already have combined forces to bus students to Yandon Dillon Educational Center in Mineville, and Crown Point students have taken physics classes in Ticonderoga.

Both school districts have declining enrollments, along with most North Country schools. For 2005-06, Ticonderoga had 1,007 students and Crown Point, 281. For 2012-13, Ticonderoga has 850 students and Crown Point, 265. Projected 2016-17 enrollments are 779 for Ticonderoga and 257 for Crown Point.

The draft report will be submitted to the State Department of Education in September 2013 and be presented to a joint meeting of the Ticonderoga and Crown Point school boards in October.

Email Lohr McKinstry: lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com

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MEETING TIMETABLE

Anyone interested in serving on the joint committee that will research whether Crown Point and Ticonderoga school districts should merge should contact them before Dec. 21. 

Reached Ticonderoga School Superintendent John McDonald Jr. at 585-7400, Ext. 1135, and Crown Point Superintendent Shari Brannock at 597-4200. 

With all meetings starting at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, the schedule, location and subjects are: 

▶ March 6, Ticonderoga High School, transportation. 

▶ April 17, Crown Point Central, facilities. 

▶ May 29, Ticonderoga Elementary-Middle School, finances. 

▶ June 19, Crown Point, programs. 

▶ July 24, Ticonderoga High School, staffing. 

▶ Aug. 21, Crown Point, adopt draft stud