District undertakes school merger study
where we are and where we are heading…
By now, most Ilion residents have likely heard something about a
school merger study. Depending on your understanding of what has taken
place and the process that lies ahead, you might be feeling excited,
concerned, or even angry. The Board of Education wants everyone to
fully understand what is happening. Over the next several months, as
the district explores the possibility of a merger, residents can be
confident that the board will communicate everything that is taking
place and that no action will take place without the community’s
consent. The study has just one purpose, to help us discover whether a
merger is in the best interests of our students and our taxpayers—or
The process formally began last spring when the
Ilion Board of Education authorized Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra by
resolution to participate in a New York State Department of State
Local Government Efficiency Grant program with representatives from
the Frankfort-Schuyler, Herkimer, and Mohawk school districts. The
purpose of the grant is the study the feasibility of merging the
districts’ programs and services.
School board representatives and the
superintendents of the four districts met to discuss how to move
forward with a study to explore the possible reorganization of the
districts. In October, the Ilion Board of Education joined the other
districts in approving SES Educational Consultants to conduct the
Since then, each district appointed one board
member and the superintendent to an eight-person steering committee.
The committee will provide feedback and suggestions to help guide the
consultants throughout the study.
In the near future, each board will select 15
interested community members to serve on the Community Advisory
Committee. These 60 people will play a key role in sharing the desires
and concerns of their communities to the consultants as the study
proceeds. The committee will also help relay the progress of the study
back to the communities.
Now begins the hard work of collecting and
analyzing data. With the help of our Steering Committee and the
Community Advisory Committee, the SES study group will look at our
schools and our communities and help us picture how a possible merged
school might look.
Once the study is completed in September 2011, our
board of education and our community will carefully review the results
and decide if a merger makes sense.
Residents will surely have questions covering
everything from why we agreed to the study to how the process takes
place. Many of those questions may be answered in the
Question and Answer section.