By ASHLEIGH LIVINGSTON
---- — PLATTSBURGH — The education councils of Seton Catholic Central and Seton Academy have merged to form one governing body that will oversee the operations of both schools.
The move, which is intended, in part, to demonstrate continuity between the primary and secondary schools, became official on Jan. 4.
That is the feast day of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, for whom the schools are named.
Discussions about merging the councils began about three or four years ago, according to Chris Hay, who served as president of Seton Academy’s Education Council before being elected president of the newly formed governing body.
Uniting the councils was an attractive idea, Hay said, because the schools serve the same parishes and many of the same families and alumni. However, because they were overseen by separate groups, they were perceived as being independent from one another.
“I think the community really saw us as two separate, distinctive organizations,” he said.
During the 2011-12 academic year, the two councils took steps to unite the schools by merging their fundraising efforts and creating an Office of Advancement, which is funded by and benefits both Seton Catholic and Seton Academy.
Those efforts have gone well, according to Hay, so the decision was made to move forward with a merging of the councils.
He said the group hopes the union will also facilitate additional opportunities for the schools to share services with one another.
The new governing body comprises members from both of the previous councils, including the Rev. Timothy Canaan, pastor of St. John’s Parish in Plattsburgh; the Rev. Scott Seymour, pastor of the Roman Catholic Community of St. Alexander and St. Joseph Parish in Morrisonville; Msgr. Dennis Duprey, pastor of St. Peter’s Parish in Plattsburgh; the Rev. William Reamer, Our Lady of Victory Parish pastor; as well as four parish-appointed members and four members at large.
In addition, Seton Academy Principal Sister Helen Hermann and Seton Catholic Principal Catherine Russell sit on the council as nonvoting members.
‘WE’RE ALL ONE’
The schools continue to maintain their own operating budgets and administration, Hay said, adding that the merger was not a cost-cutting measure and has resulted in no reductions in staff.
Both schools, he noted, are well positioned financially and academically, with Seton Catholic boasting a 90 percent passing rate on most Regents exams in 2011-12 and 91 percent of Seton Academy students earning a score of 3 or 4 on New York State English-language arts and math exams in that same academic year.
Hay added that 100 percent of Seton Catholic seniors graduated and went on to college last June.
“We’re all one, and it’s a really strong system right now,” he said.
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