UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY-TV)– Schenevus school district, a rural district with little over 300 students located in Otsego county has been dealing with financial issues for the past few years. The district was advised by the state that they should try to find a school to merge with. Superintendent Theresa carlin already had a working relationship with Worcester Superintendent Tim Gonzales.
“The Schenevus school district was in some serious financial difficulty so then I reached out to Tim again about some different opportunities to help us and he was very open to hearing different things and that is kind of what lead us to the merger conversation, it’s been about almost 3 years in the making at this point from the first time we had that conversation about sharing services,” Theresa Carlin, Schenevus Superintendent said.
School mergers are no simple process, the first step is a merger study which took almost a year to finish. the study investigated 6 components mainly to see if the merger was feasible.
“It had to do with our population, our finances, taxes, our student programming it had to do with staff, and buildings transportation,” Carlin said.
Even though the merger between Schenevus and Worcester is not yet finalized, both superintendents have shown signs of unity and have come together to ensure that both of their districts are equally represented. Both superintendents insist on having their interviews together, and to further show their unity they even had a mascot designed by their its person that represents both of their school districts as their background for zoom calls.
“We wanted to make sure the information came out at the same time,” Tim Gonzales Worcester Superintendent said. “And the information was in unison so what we did early on in the process was create a merger website so that we were putting information there and on our own individual websites we were linked to that website.”
Now that the year-long study is complete the next step is for the board of education in both districts to vote on either stopping the merger or putting it out to the community for a vote. This board meeting will be June 15th.
If the boards decide to put the vote out to the community, that vote will happen September 22nd in both districts. If the results are positive the official state education referendum will take place December 4th. If approved the two districts will be merged on paper, not until July 1st, 2022 will they be merged in practice as well.