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Morristown nixes Heuvelton tuitioning deal, wants to merge with Hammond

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MORRISTOWN - The Morristown Central School Board of Education voted against pursuing a tuitioning agreement with Heuvelton Central School at Wednesday’s meeting.

The board is instead reaching out to Hammond Central School to see if they would be interested in potentially merging the districts.

Board members Mark Tayler, Shawn R. Macaulay and Lawrence Kring III voted against a $9,900 fact-finding study designed to look into how a tuitioning agreement with Heuvelton would work.

The schools were contemplating having students in grades seven through 12 sent from Morristown to Heuvelton to attend classes.

Board member James Michaels, Vice President W. Darrell Merkel and President Cyril Aldrich Jr. were in favor of the measure and board member Mary Anne Bailey was absent for the vote.

Because the vote was a three- to-three tie, the tuitioning study was defeated by default.

Mr. Kring said that studying a tuitioning agreement with Heuvelton felt like a waste of money.

“It makes sense to me to get public input first,” he said.

Mr. Kring also said sending students to Heuvelton “doesn’t make the most geographical sense.”

The two schools are more than 17 miles apart.

“I feel like we’re jumping at the only option that’s been dangled in front of us,” Mr. Kring said. “I feel like there are a lot of different directions we could go in.”

Mr. Michaels said the district is running out of options.

“We’re at the point where I do believe we are academically insolvent,” he said, adding that their only realistic option for continuing to provide a reasonable education to their students is to somehow get them to attend classes at Ogdensburg, Heuvelton or Hammond.

Ogdensburg City School Board of Education President Ronald N. Johnson said the district is open to talking with Morristown about accepting high school students in a tuitioning agreement but Morristown has not yet pursued that option.

Mr. Macaulay said, “I’d like to start talking to Hammond about merging.”

Hammond Central School is just over 10 miles away from Morristown.

Mr. Merkel noted that Hammond currently has an interim superintendent and is searching for a full-time replacement.

A merger between the schools could solve Hammond’s search for a superintendent as there would only need to be one superintendent for the newly formed district, Mr. Merkel said.

Morristown Superintendent David J. Glover said he is going to send a letter of inquiry to Hammond about opening up a dialog for a merger.

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