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Alexandria Bay superintendent: ‘nothing off the table’ in consolidation talks with Hammond

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The superintendent of the Alexandria Bay Central School District says there is “nothing off the table,” when it comes to the prospect of merging or sharing services with Hammond Central School.

Alexandria Bay Superintendent Robert B. Wagoner Jr. said Monday that the two districts have been discussing consolidation, but are not yet ready to recommend a direction forward. Hammond Board of Education President Timothy W. Pitcher announced that the two districts were talking about sharing services or merging at a recent joint session about sharing services with Morristown Central School officials.

“We have looked at all districts and the benefits we could have, but there are no plans right now that I am aware of,” Mr. Wagoner said.

Sharing services could benefit students, he said.

“We have an agricultural program that some kids in Hammond could be interested in taking,” Mr. Wagoner said. “You don’t tend to have agricultural programs in smaller, north country districts.”

More research is needed before an official conversation begins, Mr. Wagoner added.

“Right now we don’t know what is available, with an in-depth conversation with programs we can see what they have and we don’t and vice versa,” he said.

In the past, Alexandria Bay has hosted football and hockey players from Hammond, Mr. Wagoner said.

Alexandria Bay and several other schools are participating in a consolidation study through the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services. The results have not been compiled yet, Mr. Wagoner said.

“We have talked with other districts such as LaFargeville, but they haven’t been too interested in doing a study for a merger,” Mr. Wagoner said.

Mr. Wagoner said insolvency is not a concern or a major factor in the discussions.

“Our [state] Gap Elimination Adjustment has been a little over a half million dollars,” he said.

Alexandria Bay currently enrolls 640 students. Hammond has 316.

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