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Potsdam school board votes unanimously to pursue merger study with Canton

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POTSDAM - Members of the Potsdam Central School District Board of Education voted unanimously to pursue a merger feasibility study in conjunction with the Canton Central District.

Canton’s board was also expected to vote on the study Tuesday night. Results of its vote were not available Tuesday night.

“Canton’s school board is meeting tonight, and I anticipate they’ll pass a similar resolution,” Potsdam Superintendent Patrick H. Brady said.

Mr. Brady said the study is expected to cost around $50,000. To cover its half of the costs, should they not be successful in obtaining an efficiency grant from the Department of State, Potsdam has received $25,000 in bullet aid from Sen. Joseph A. Griffo.

Mr. Brady said that both he and Canton Superintendent William Gregory were optimistic that Canton’s senator, Patricia A. Ritchie would come through with a similar grant for Canton, but Mr. Brady said it’s his understanding she is not providing Canton with funding for their share of the grant.

“It appears that’s not going to be the case,” he said.

Should the district’s receive an efficiency grant, Mr. Brady said the local share for each district would drop from approximately $25,000 to roughly $12,500.

“The $12,500 would be the district’s share and I see the Griffo money being used for that,” he said.

Should the study end up costing more than $25,000 Mr. Brady said, the additional $12,500 remaining could be used for “overages or extra costs.”

If Canton’s board approved the study, Mr. Brady said the next steps would be to apply for the efficiency grant, create a request for proposals (RFP) and then hold a second joint board meeting, this time likely in Canton.

He said that meeting would probably happen next month and include the formation of a steering committee to “help move us through the process,” as well as interviews with firms that have submitted proposals for the study.

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