School District Merger Study at Alfred Almond Was Both Informative and Well Attended

School Merger Study Meeting At Alfred Almond Thursday Night
January 30, 2014

ALMOND, N.Y. – Alfred-Almond, Arkport and Canaseraga School administrations along with about 75 to 100 members of the three communities gathered to discuss the proposed merger between the three School districts in the Alfred Almond Central School Auditorium. Two consultants from the firm of Castallo and Silky; Alan Pole and William Silky gave the presentation about the process of deciding weather or not the three school districts should merge.

Consultant Alan Pole highlighted the pros of the mergers, including financial incentives from the state, cost efficiency with the operation of the merged school district, also the plus of being able to add more programs to offer a better educational product to each student. Pole did however note that, there are sometimes “cons” associated with a merger such as loss of local identity, longer bus rides to and from school for some of the students, the familiarity of the local School board members, and a feeling that there would be a loss of local representation from the communities.

The process of the merger officially started Thursday night, and the process will include the formation of three advisory committees from each of the considered School districts including; one teacher, one building administrator, one of the support staff, and finally four members of the communities. The three committees of seven each making up the larger advisory committee of 21 members that will be in the center of the process. The merger process, if approved throughout the several meetings and votes that must take place before final approval is given to merge, starts today, and if final approval is reached the new school district will be born on July 1st 2016 which is the beginning of the fiscal year for all school districts. When Alan Pole was asked after the meeting if the amount of state aid would decrease going from three separate school districts into one single district, Pole said that it would not decrease because of a merger.

The next meeting concerning the merger will take place April 10, 2014, and will focus on the enrollment, which as Pole stated ‘drives the staffing, bus routes, facilities, programs, and athletic opportunities”. The process will include six meetings covering subjects such as; Enrollment, programs, facilities, transportation, staffing, and the last meeting which will cover finance. Then a final meeting on March 5, 2015 at which time the final report will be delivered. Then the communities will have a chance to vote on the proposed merger with all three districts needing a majority yes vote to actually merge the three school districts.