Notes from the 1/6 Public Meeting to Explore Possible Consolidation

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January 6, 2011 - Presentation by New York State Merger Consultant (PDF) NEW!

January 6, 2011 - Reorganization Incentive Aid (PDF) NEW!

January 6, 2011 - Remarks by Superintendent of Schools Peter Scordo (PDF) NEW!

January 6, 2011 - Planning for the Future through School District Reorganization (PDF) NEW!

December 2, 2010 - Projected 2011-12 Budget Information (PDF) NEW!

 

Previous Information on Exploring Consolidation

Facing continued financial challenges, Elwood leaders will discuss exploring consolidation at the Board of Ed workshop on Thursday, January 6, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. (The meeting will begin at 6 p.m.  It is expected that the Board of Education will immediately vote to enter executive session to discuss personnel and legal matters for approximately 90 minutes and then resume the public portion of the meeting at approximately 7:30 p.m.  The Panelists will begin the presentations and discussions at 7:30 pm.) in the Middle School auditorium.

As the community is aware, the Elwood School District, among others, continues to be faced with the difficult challenge of providing a cost-effective, high-quality education program in a time of ongoing economic strain.

 For the current school year, we were forced to eliminate 14 teaching/staff positions and to reduce certain programs for students in order to offer a budget that was acceptable to the community.  Looking ahead to the 2011-12 school year, financial conditions remain difficult.  Funding that all school districts have been receiving through the Federal Stimulus Program is set to expire.  In addition, we are faced with continued reductions in total assessed value, and there is a strong possibility that a proposed tax cap will be enacted.  These factors, coupled with rising retirement system contributions , health care costs, as well as other obligations that the district must pay by law, paint an ominous portrait of the future.

With the above considerations in mind, the Elwood Board of Education had preliminary discussions at its December 2nd workshop regarding the feasibility and relative benefits of consolidating the district with one or more neighboring school districts.  As a result, the Board decided to send letters to the Boards of Education and Superintendents of our contiguous districts (Northport-East Northport, Harborfields, Commack, South Huntington, and Half Hollow Hills) to ascertain interest in holding joint meetings to explore the issues surrounding possible consolidation.  We await the replies of these districts.

The Board will host a special Consolidation Workshop for the public on Thursday, January 6th in the Elwood Middle School Auditorium.  We will have a panel discussion with experts who have worked on the consolidation process in the past and who can offer members of the public an understanding of the ‘how’ and ‘why’ associated with the effort.  More information on this workshop will be forthcoming.

We do not take this matter lightly; we are proud of our school/community identity and realize this is a very serious issue that will require enormous research, community input, and evaluation.  However, the Board of Education feels we must exhaust all efforts in looking for ways to continue offering our students an excellent education while providing an affordable tax rate for residents.  Unfortunately, we are at a place where further cuts like those we experienced in the current school year may seriously damage the quality of our district.

Your thoughts and comments will be most helpful in defining the future of our schools, and we look forward to your participation at our January 6th workshop.  Please know that we care very deeply for our schools and community, and this is an honest effort to simply explore all possible alternatives.