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South Glens Falls CSD and Fort Edward Union Free SD to conduct pre-merger study

December 5, 2018

The South Glens Falls Central School District and the Fort Edward Union Free School District boards of education have agreed to conduct a pre-merger study to examine the benefits and drawbacks of the two districts merging.

Specifically, the study will examine whether the South Glens Falls Central School District should annex the Fort Edward Union Free School District. In an annexation, a new district is not created, rather; the annexed district (Fort Edward) is dissolved and becomes part of the annexing district (South Glens Falls).

“Given the financial constraints of the Fort Edward Union Free School District, we must begin to examine options for our district’s future,” said Fort Edward UFSD 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 General Electric Co. dewatering plant was reduced by more than $60,000,000, which was equal to a $1.2 million dollar loss in revenue for the district. This loss has forced the district, which sits to the southeast of South Glens Falls, to cut staff while continuing to raise taxes for district residents. Fort Edward UFSD has approximately 500 students in kindergarten through grade 12.

The pre-merger study, which will be conducted by the educational consultant Castallo & Silky, LLC, will address the following areas: 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 the cost of the study. (Fort Edward will receive 71 percent aid while South Glens Falls will receive 62 percent aid.)

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