main content starts here

South Glens Falls CSD & Fort Edward UFSD to participate in merger feasibility study

April 21, 2020

The South Glens Falls CSD Board of Education voted unanimously on Monday, April 20, to move forward with a merger feasibility study that will explore the possibility of annexing the Fort Edward Union Free School District.

The two districts will put out an RFP to find a consultant to perform the annexation merger study. The consultant will be hired by July 1, 2020.

“This study will allow our district to formally study our district annexing the Fort Edward Union Free School District,” said South Glens Falls CSD Superintendent of Schools Kristine Orr. “Our priority continues to be providing the best education possible for students of our region, and if we can assist the Fort Edward UFSD in a way that benefits our school district as well, it is important that we conduct this study.”

The purpose of the merger study is to gather information about the potential staffing and financial impacts of an annexation, in which Fort Edward Union Free School District would become part of the South Glens Falls Central School District. The study will explore options for building and classroom configurations within a merged district.

Last year, there was a preliminary pre-merger study between Fort Edward, South Glens Falls and Hudson Falls that examined enrollment projections, instructional and extracurricular programming, finance, facilities, transportation and staffing.

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 reduce its tax levy. The district has received supplemental aid grants in 2018-19 and 2019-20 from local legislators, but these were discontinued in the 2020-21 Enacted Budget. Fort Edward UFSD has approximately 500 students in kindergarten through grade 12.

“The study will allow the Fort Edward Board of Education to gain specific information on the potential outcomes of the annexation of our school by the South Glens Falls CSD,” said Fort Edward Superintendent of Schools Daniel Ward.

In the future, the two districts will also form a joint advisory committee, composed of South Glens Falls and Fort Edward staff and community members. The committee will meet to review the consultant’s findings. Any information received will be shared with the public.

The districts are expected to present the completed study (pending approval from the state Education Department) in the next 12-18 months. If both school boards decide to move forward with a vote by their respective community members, this would most likely take place at some time in 2022. The merger cannot occur until both communities approve it through a public vote.

The cost of the study will be clear once the districts hear from potential consultants. The cost will be shared equally between the South Glens Falls CSD and Fort Edward UFSD.

Category: Ballard News, District News, Harrison Ave News, Moreau News, SGFalls HS News, Tanglewood News, Winch MS News