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Schools shell out $30,000 to study regional high school viability

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HEUVELTON – Morristown, Heuvelton and Hermon-DeKalb central schools are spending a total of $30,000 to have consultant Philip M. Martin study the economic viability of a pregional high school.

Mr. Martin, a former superintendent at Fayetteville-Manlius Central School, was brought on board in mid-December and formerly worked with schools looking at a similar proposal in Wayne County.

Mr. Martin has been tasked with determining whether it makes economic sense for the three school districts to consider a regional high school.

The study is being run through St. Lawrence-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services, said BOCES Superintendent Thomas R. Burns.

The cost of the project is being split evenly among the three school districts. The study is scheduled to be completed by June 30.

Mr. Burns said Mr. Martin has begun the study by requesting large amounts of data from each of the districts.

Susan E. Todd, superintendent of Heuvelton Central School, said Mr. Martin is looking at a large number of variables in each district, including enrollment, projected enrollment, courses offered, maps of the region, the term expiration dates of board members, extracurricular activities, athletics, athletic mergers, bus routes and schedules.

“It’s pretty early in the study,” Mrs. Todd said. “It’s a way of educating the community and ourselves.”

Mr. Burns said the study is in the data analysis phase, and that Mr. Martin will stay in touch with school administrations throughout the project to keep them aware of his progress.

“Based on what I’ve seen so far he’s going to have no problem hitting the deadline,” Mr. Burns said.

Speaking about the cost of the project, Mrs. Todd said, “Ten grand sounds like a lot of money, but it you don’t put the money forward you can’t see how you can save money.”

Currently regional high schools are not allowed for under state law, but advocates are hopeful the state Legislature this year will set up a legal framework for their creation.

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