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News stories tagged with "consolidation"

Regional high schools among consolidation options

The public got its first glimpse last night of a study to deal with St. Lawrence County's declining school enrollment. The county's 18 districts lost 2,000 students in less than a decade.

The study commissioned by BOCES considers little fixes like shared services and big, controversial moves like merging districts. It also focuses on a middle, largely untested option - the creation of regional high schools. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article
Cynthia Ford-Johnston (Photo:  Keene Central School)
Cynthia Ford-Johnston (Photo: Keene Central School)

The North Country's smallest school districts under fire

This week we've been looking at big cuts in state aid that are hitting schools in New York state. Governor Andrew Cuomo has specifically targeted more than 200 very small school districts, with fewer than a thousand students.

He says many of these hyper-small districts are inefficient and should be consolidated as a cost-savings measure. His budget included a $250 million incentive fund to encourage schools to consider mergers. It turns out, more than forty school districts here in the North Country fall under that thousand-kid threshold, and many more of our districts just barely exceed that number.

Cynthia Ford-Johnston is superintendent of Keene Central School in the Adirondacks, which has roughly 170 students, pre-K though high school. She told Brian Mann that small schools face enormous pressure now to consider mergers.  Go to full article
Scozzafava has emerged in a new role as Deputy Secretary of State for Local Government
Scozzafava has emerged in a new role as Deputy Secretary of State for Local Government

Scozzafava takes on reform and downsizing of local governments

Governor Andrew Cuomo is pushing to downsize state government in New York by more than $10 billion. But he's also trying to shrink the number of local governments and school districts. Cuomo is cutting aid to towns and villages, while also pushing for a cap on local property taxes.

One of the people leading that effort is former North Country Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava from Governeur. Cuomo picked Scozzafava in January to serve as Deputy Secretary of State for Local Government. As Brian Mann reports, Scozzafava says the state isn't trying to force communities to dissolve or consolidate their local governments.  Go to full article

Villages consider - and reconsider - consolidation

This spring, residents of Potsdam will get their first look at a study of whether the village of Potsdam should disappear as a government body.

Governor Cuomo has said he wants to provide financial help for villages that consolidate into their surrounding towns.

Several other villages are also looking at the issue, including Mannsville in southern Jefferson County.

In 2009, a new law made it easier to dissolve local governments. But so far, every village that has voted on the issue has chosen not to dissolve. One exception is the village of Altmar in Oswego County. Reporter Dave Bullard explains the issue is more complex than it might seem.  Go to full article

Cuomo urges government consolidation

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo says New Yorkers are crushed by taxes and consolidating local governments is a way to ease the burden. Martha Foley has more.  Go to full article

Cuomo leads calls for simplifying local government

State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo wants to simplify New York's patchwork quilt of local government entities. He says they have a "chokehold" on state residents, but he says, complicated statutes prevent local governments from consolidating. He's proposing legislation to fundamentally reform the overlaps as a way to control New York's highest-in-the-nation property taxes. At a press conference yesterday, Cuomo traced the discussion of consolidation back 20 years. Karen DeWitt reports.  Go to full article

Commission: consolidation won't close schools

A recommendation from Governor Paterson's commission on property tax relief fueled anxiety across the North Country this week. It would force school districts of fewer than 1,000 students to consolidate. Districts of fewer than 2,000 students would be encouraged to follow suit. The plan would affect almost all districts in northern New York. But as David Sommerstein reports, the commission says it doesn't want to actually shutter school buildings.  Go to full article

Albany drafting plans to cut taxes

In the next few weeks, a couple of reports are due from two state commissions that could ultimately help to lower the state's highest-in-the-nation property taxes. Karen DeWitt reports.  Go to full article

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