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Local BOCES, superintendents to create consolidation survey

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School districts in Jefferson and Lewis counties will participate in a survey that will explore the potential for district consolidation.

Jefferson-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services Superintendent Jack J. Boak Jr. met with superintendents last week about creating a survey to find out what residents think about the often-emotional subject.

“School district reorganization is a very sensitive topic,” he said. “Obviously, knowing the taxpayer’s view is critical. This is something we talk about constantly, but we just reached a point where we needed more information.”

He said the superintendents did not discuss whether they thought consolidation was needed for specific districts.

In the next several months, a survey will appear on all 18 Jefferson-Lewis BOCES districts’ websites. Mr. Boak said it will take time to prepare a survey that is appropriate for every district but not so long that residents do not want to finish it.

He did not have a specific timeline for when the survey would be reviewed by district superintendents or put online.

“We just had this meeting last week, so we’re just starting to develop this survey,” he said.

In the St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES region, Morristown Central, Heuvelton Central and Hermon-DeKalb Central have already discussed consolidation for about a year. BOCES Superintendent Thomas R. Burns said the districts may be getting ready to request proposals for a study.

Additionally, more districts in his region are taking advantage of BOCES shared services after last year’s 300-page Regional Consolidation, Reorganization and Shared Services Feasibility Study done by New York State Rural Schools Association and Organizational Leadership Services LLC.

“We reached a point where the finances are just not there,” he said. “We’re in this position because there’s a financial crisis under this structure.”

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