By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
The last of the Merger Mondays took place Monday, June 14, ahead of Tuesday’s board vote.
The superintendents of Worcester and Schenevus central schools acknowledged the growing pains of a merger, but also argued its perceived importance to a group of about 15 attendees.
Some of the guests included Assemblyman Brian Miller, and Jeff Bishop, communications director for state Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, who is an SCS graduate.
Miller expressed mostly neutrality for the upcoming vote and said he was there to “show support for whichever way the communities decide to go.”
Oberacker was unable to attend because he was at a parade in Unadilla, a cause of some criticism among those who attended, but Bishop said Oberacker was closely following the developments on the potential merger.
If the vote is approved, there will be a Sept. 22, straw poll followed by a Dec. 3, binding referendum.
If the merger is approved the combined Board of Education would increase from five to seven seats. There also will be state financial incentives for the merger, which BOE representatives say will be used to improve educational opportunities and provide funds to a reserve, while also maintaining the same staff only eliminating positions through attrition, which they say will save $690,000.
Class size will be 22 students or lower.
Much of the merger rationale is based on a study conducted prior to the pandemic, which referenced a declining enrollment for both schools, a problem which in a merged district would be resolved with access to more academics and athletics.
Any additional cost for transportation they say will be minimal.
Anything related to mascots, school colors and team names would be student driven, officials said.
“This is emotional for a lot of people. … We do realize that and recognize that, but we have to do what’s best for our kids and everything in the study shows its best for our kids,” Carlin said.
Miller diverted from his original stance of neutrality briefly to posit about the merger.