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Hammond to talk consolidation with Morristown

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HAMMOND — The Hammond Central School Board of Education indicated this week that it is open to discussing consolidation options with Morristown Central School, but is in no rush.

At a meeting Tuesday, school board members said they received a letter from the Morristown Board of Education inquiring about several consolidation possibilities, including shared services, shared superintendents and a possible merger.

But Randy C. Richards, newly appointed Hammond interim superintendent, recommended that board members hold off on discussions until the two districts can schedule a work session. The board took no action on the matter.

Mr. Richards said he was concerned that funding for a merger study may not be within the “scope” of the district’s 2013-14 budget.

“I read in the paper this morning that Potsdam and Canton are spending a substantial amount of money to do a merger study,” Mr. Richards said. “This demands a lot of serious thought.”

Morristown Superintendent David J. Glover said Wednesday he could not discuss Hammond’s decision until he receives a response from the school board.

“Once we get a letter of Hammond, the board will make a determination of what steps, if any, we will take from there,” Mr. Glover said.

Mr. Glover said the district has time to consider multiple avenues before its impending insolvency.

“We aren’t in the fiscal situation we were in a couple of years ago,” he said. “Things were very dire then. Some districts are in real fiscal distress. Fortunately, Morristown isn’t at that level.”

Mr. Glover said he could not estimate when the district will become financially insolvent. He was unable to state the amount of the money the district has in its fund balance.

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