This is intended as a slightly-organized collection of links about the possibility of Hamilton Central School consolidation (merger with another district, most likely Morrisville-Eaton.) The central link at the moment, for community discussion and comment, is HCSCommunity.net, kicked off as reported by Radio Free Hamilton on March 1 in Community Forum Focuses on HCS' Future, Merger
About 60 people attended a meeting at the Hamilton Public Library Monday night to discuss the future of HCS, and to learn more about and consider alternatives to a possible merger with Morrisville-Eaton Central Schools (MECS).The powerpoint presentation at HCSCommunity.net can be viewed in your browser as a Google presentation here unless somebody minds my having put it on Google docs, in which case I'll remove it.
In addition to the meeting-report above, Radio Free Hamilton said on Jan 20 that Board Gets Dire Budget Outlook; Approves Seeking Grant for Merger Study
The details presented by Superintendent Dr. Diana Bowers portrayed not so much a forecast of stormy weather but a financial natural disaster that could strike HCS programs as early as the 2011-2012 budget and devastate it as the Class of 2013 begins its senior yearyear.on Feb 6 that 1 + 1 = 1: HCS, MECS Merger
The Morrisville-Eaton school board Friday voted to join Hamilton in a study of a possible merger of the two districts. HCS voted in favor or a merger study last week.And on March 9, Updated: Insult to Injury: HCS Faces Another State Aid Cut
First, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he was going to cut the state's $10 billion deficit byt cutting state aid to schools. Hamilton's hit: $485,000.
Then, the governor said he wants to take the pool of state education aid and divide it differently, taking from wealthier districts and redistributing funds to poorer districts. Hamilton's hit: $103,000.
... Add to that cuts from the federal government and HCS starts its 2011-2012 budget process about $1 million in the hole.
The Post-Standard editorialized that Merger talks: Exploring school district consolidation will be a learning experience | syracuse.com
Facing the one-two punch of rising costs and declining state aid, superintendents in Morrisville-Eaton, Hamilton, Madison and Stockbridge Valley have initiated talks on merging the four districts into two.(Note comment by Ken Bausch of HCSCommunity.net below.)
The Oneida Dispatch reported on the proposed study as Morrisville-Eaton and Hamilton Central school districts seek funding for merger study (updated) - oneidadispatch.com
If selected, the grant would be awarded by June 1 and a community group would be formed. The group would begin the study in July and finish in January 2012. The completed study would then be submitted to the New York State Education Department. It would be sent back to the districts for more public hearings.
The boards of education may then decide to put the merger up for a vote around September 2012. Voters for both districts would have to approve the merger in two rounds of voting in fall 2012.
Hamilton Superintendent Diana Bowers said the study is a “fact finding” mission.
Personally, I was quite depressed as I went to the meeting; the meeting left me with a sense that maybe we might possibly perhaps muddle through; lately I'm feeling more depressed again. But we might muddle through.
Or then again, maybe not.