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Governor Andrew Cuomo Photo: Mark Kurtz
Governor Andrew Cuomo Photo: Mark Kurtz

Cuomo urges consolidation on small "insolvent" school districts

Gov. Andrew Cuomo took aim again yesterday at small upstate and Northern New York school districts, which he says need to consolidate to survive. "You have many small school districts that are almost insolvent from an economic point of view, due to their size," Cuomo said.

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Reported by

Brian Mann
Adirondack Bureau Chief

Speaking on the public radio program Capitol Pressroom, Cuomo was asked about districts that have suffered so many budget cuts that they are "educationally insolvent."

Cuomo acknowledged the problem but suggested that some smaller districts in places like the North Country can't be saved in their current form.

"You have some school districts where you just have a handful of graduates and you're running a whole school district for literally a handful of students. How do you afford that? How do you start to talk about different economic models where you start to consolidate, as revolutionary and upsetting as that is, but how do you run school districts with just a handful of students?"

Small districts are the norm here in the North Country. Even after consolidations, many districts have fewer than 1,000 kids K through 12.

Cuomo has made merging school districts and local governments a priority part of his agenda. It's a stance that has angered many educators and local government leaders.

Canton and Potsdam, which are 10 miles apart along state Rt. 11, are the latest districts in the North Country to consider merging.

After a series of seven public meetings now in process, a committee of school and community representatives will make a recommendation to the school boards on whether or not the merger should go forward. That's coming in May.

Votes in both districts will follow.

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