Community merger committee looks at physical and program
The Community Advisory Committee got a clearer
look at how a possible merged school district might look at their
third meeting on Tuesday, Mar. 2 at Herkimer BOCES (view
the agenda (PDF).
The committee built on previous work undertaken at
its February meeting when SES Study Team first introduced data related
to enrollment projections and building capacities.
In this meeting, the committee broke up into the
three subcommittees—Education, Finance/Personnel Committee, and
Functional Support Services and Operations to discuss the data. The
subcommittees each made observations related to the data, then noted
the opportunities and challenges the data presented. SES Study Team
consultants Paul Seversky, Doug Exley, and Sam Shevat recorded
members’ comments and will present them at the next meeting.
The group then had a chance to look at a complete
listing of the K-6 grade program offerings for each of the districts.
the listing (PDF)).
Everyone also reviewed a summary of the latest
grade 3-6 New York State assessments in ELA, math, and science (see
the summary (PDF)).
After a break the group was invited to ask 12
school district guests any questions related to the data. On hand were
the superintendent and an elementary school principal and teacher from
each district (see
the representatives (PDF)).
The focus quickly turned to the recent assessment
results and what districts were doing to improve student performance.
After a lengthy discussion of the many problems facing districts,
conversation slowly moved to the positives that could come from the
additional resources available in a merged district. Among them were:
A combined district could combine the strengths of
each district and better meet students’ needs. As one person said,
“We could merge our collective brains.”
Improved efficiencies could free some
staff to focus on necessary tasks such as curriculum development.
A combined district could better justify
and afford additional services such as counselors and social
A combined district could expand
opportunities for students such as foreign languages, health
classes, computer skills/technology, BOCES honors club, drama
club, school newspaper club, and intramural sports.
A combined district could open
the possibility of a magnet school. Interestingly, when one member
asked if the guest panel could see identify any ways that a merged district would negatively
impact program, not one of the guests could name a downside.
“Unfortunately, the conversation was cut short by
the time. Many questions were left unasked or unanswered,” said SES
Consultant Doug Exley. “We are still working out the details, but we
hope to address them at our next meeting.”
Future CAC meetings will be held Tuesday, March 29
and Thursday, April 14. Meetings begin at 6 p.m. at the Herkimer