SGF, Fort Edward schools to study merger
SOUTH GLENS FALLS, N.Y. >> South Glens Falls and Fort Edward school districts have agreed to conduct a pre-merger study to examine the pros and cons of a possible merger.
Specifically, the study will examine whether South Glens Falls Central Schools should annex Fort Edward Union Free School District.
In an annexation, a new district is not created. The Fort Edward district would be dissolved and become part of South Glens Falls.
“Given the financial constraints, we must begin to examine options for our district’s future,” said Fort Edward Superintendent Daniel Ward. “We’re committed to making the best choices for our students and our community, and looking at all of our options. The long-term, big picture decisions that the Fort Edward Board of Education is responsible for making requires that the district collect and review the information that will be provided by this study.”
Fort Edward lost a significant amount of taxable property value when the assessment of a General Electric Co. dewatering plant was reduced by more than $60 million.
This resulted in a $1.2 million loss in tax revenue, which has forced the district to cut staff while continuing to raise taxes for residents. The Fort Edward district has about 500 students in kindergarten through grade 12.
South Glens Falls has roughly 3,100 students.
The pre-merger study, conducted by the educational consulting firm Castallo & Silky, LLC, of Syracuse, will address enrollment projections, instructional and extracurricular programming, finance, facilities, transportation and staffing.
“We are willing to be a part of Fort Edward’s efforts to continue to provide excellent academic programming and support for its students,” said South Glens Falls Superintendent Kristine Orr. “We are open to learning how our districts could both benefit, and how a merger would impact our own students, our potential revenue and our taxpayers.”
The study, which costs $5,500 for each school district, will be conducted throughout the winter. Results are expected to be released to the public in June.
Each district will receive aid to offset more than half of the study cost. Fort Edward will receive 71 percent aid while South Glens Falls will receive 62 percent aid.