Canton, NY, Oct 08, 2010 — In much of the North Country, declining enrollments and dwindling state aid are painting a stark picture for school districts. Districts are talking about sharing administrations, teachers, and, in some cases, merging or closing schools.
This week, the 18 school districts in St. Lawrence County are beginning a year-long study of consolidation. Enrollment has plunged by more than 10,000 students from 30 years ago, a 40% drop. Almost all the districts are classified as rural high-need.
Tom Burns is district superintendent of St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES. He told David Sommerstein the numbers are disheartening. But he says full-fledged school mergers are a worst-case scenario, especially because of the distance students would have to travel.