November 24, 2013

Residents share views on school merger

CROWN POINT — More than 200 people filled the Crown Point Central School auditorium recently to express their feelings on a possible merger between that school and the Ticonderoga district.

A recently released study concludes that combining the two districts would be advantageous both academically and financially, especially in an age of declining school enrollments.

But if the comments of those attending the meeting are representative of the two communities, especially Crown Point, many residents are opposed to merging because they fear a loss of community identity and don’t believe that costs and taxes really would decrease, as the report claims.


The study proposes that elementary students in Crown Point would still go to school there, but middle- and high-school students would be bused to Ticonderoga. 

Elementary pupils in Ticonderoga would still attend Ticonderoga Elementary School.

Academic opportunities for students would increase with a merger, the study says, with more honors and advanced-placement courses available.


The study was conducted by Jessica Cohen and Alan Pole of Castallo & Silky, Educational Consultants of Syracuse, assisted by an 18-member Joint School Merger Study Committee representing both districts.

Cohen and Pole are retired school superintendents who have compiled many such studies in the past.

“We bring the perspective other communities have had,” Cohen said. “We’re talking about the future of these two districts. 

“There is no recommendation from us on whether a merger should occur. We leave that to your communities.”

She said the study began in January, funded by a grant from the New York State Department of State.

The new district would get about $12 million in merger aid from the state over a period of 14 years, Pole said.

He recommended that the aid not be simply added to annual budgets.

“Districts have run out of incentive-aid money and had to raise taxes.”

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