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BOCES-sponsored consolidation survey in the works

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The community will get the chance to speak out about consolidation among schools in the next several months.

Jefferson-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services will sponsor a survey to find out how communities feel about neighboring school districts sharing athletic teams, transportation and even regional high schools.

School boards across the region have discussed the upcoming survey during recent meetings, but Jefferson-Lewis BOCES Superintendent Jack J. Boak Jr. said residents will have to wait until the first week of October for it to be available on district websites.

We’ve been talking about this for several months,” he said. “As districts were working on their budgets, they were looking for ways to save money.”

He said sharing extracurricular activities — or administrators — could be a way to do that for the districts that have struggled the most to keep their budgets balanced.

Mr. Boak anticipates a change in legislation to make creating regional high schools easier in the near future, and said community support would be vital if a change were going to be made.

“The superintendents’ thought was that if the community didn’t support it, then it is probably not a good idea to do it,” he said.

The survey will have about eight questions about consolidation and follow-up questions on the individual’s demographics. Those who do not have Internet access can also participate by mailing one in.

Mr. Boak said the survey could prompt swift decision-making among districts, some of which could create changes as soon as the second semester of the 2013-14 school year.

“The regional high school idea would take a while,” he said. “At least we would have the information we need to get started.”

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