POTSDAM - This years Minnowbrook Superintendents Conference gave superintendents from around the region a first-hand look at school consolidations and mergers.
Potsdam Central School Superintendent Patrick H. Brady, whose district is pursuing a merger study with Canton, said those talks included a presentation from Cosmo Tangorra, the superintendent of the newly merged Central Valley School District.
That district, Mr. Brady said, is a new district created by merging the Illion and Mohawk central school districts.
Those talks originally included two other districts, Frankfort and Herkimer, but those two districts withdrew from the merger before it took place.
It was very helpful to hear from a superintendent who has already been through this process, Mr. Brady said, noting that he saw many similarities between those two districts and Potsdam and Canton.
They had been facing a decrease in enrollment and programs and were concerned about future opportunities for their students, Mr. Brady said, recalling the presentation. Illion had particualrly been cutting a considerable amount of staff.
Mr. Brady said given the districts budget situation Illion felt like they had no other choice but to pursue a merger.
They felt that the options being provided by the state were very limiting, he said. He (Mr. Tangorra) talked about the funding inequities they were facing and the lack of legal support for regional high schools.
Mr. Brady said superintendents were also warned that the merger process is not an easy one. He did say a lot of emotions are generated by a merger.
The deadline for firms to submit their proposals for the Potsdam-Canton merger study is Friday.
At this point weve had one proposal come in, he said. We do expect to have more by Friday.
Once the proposals are reviewed, Mr. Brady said firms will be interviewed and the plan is to have a recomendation to present to the board when they meet again on Sept. 24.
If it all works out, thats the plan, he said.