GLENS FALLS -- A merger between the two public school districts in the city is a topic that has surfaced at times in the last two decades.

Now it is back, after the state Department of State announced Friday that a $37,800 grant will pay to study if it's feasible for the Glens Falls City School District to merge with the Glens Falls Common (Abraham Wing) School District.

The grant is among 20 Local Government Efficiency awards going to municipalities across the state. The awards total $871,490, and will fund projects that involve the first steps in sharing certain public services.

The projects include school mergers, village dissolutions and the consolidation of emergency services.

Thomas McGowan, superintendent of the city school district, said he was happy the districts will receive the funds because he thought the money was cut from the state budget.

The city school district applied for the grant and is the lead agency. Now the district has to find out if the Abraham Wing district is still interested in the study, McGowan said.

"If they are still agreeable to going forward with the study, we will put together (a request for proposals)," McGowan said. "We will put it out to some groups who have done these before."

McGowan said both school boards have to vote to accept the grant.

Ella Collins, superintendent of Abraham Wing, could not be reached for comment Monday.

The study would examine different aspects of the school districts - academics, finances, enrollment and facilities, among others.

McGowan said he did not know how long the study would take, but he would like to see it done in six to eight months.

Afterward, the school boards would review the findings and decide if the public should vote on a merger.

A merger between the districts has been discussed on and off in the last two decades. Since 1987, the districts tried to merge twice, only for the attempts to fail.

Then in early 2009, state Sen. Elizabeth Little, R-Queensbury, met with officials from both districts to encourage them to pursue a study using state funds.

On Monday, Little said a merger could help the districts as enrollment decreases and tax bases in the city change.

"I'm glad they received the grant," she said. "It certainly will be up to both school districts to decide to participate."

(2) comments

BobTheBuilder
BobTheBuilder

Every time this has been brought up in the past they sweeten the deal for the Abe Wing district with a lower tax rate for a few years and then they'll end up paying what everyone else in Glens Falls pays which is a higher tax rate. So in the end the residents of the East End get higher tax rates and less control of their school which is why it has always been turned down. The Glens Falls School City School District would love this to happen because then they get Finch Paper, Lehigh Cement Company, Pactiv and other businesses in the East End on their tax roll.

common sense

BobTheBuilder and other east enders, you live in Glens Falls
therefore Abe Wing should be part of the school district if it's in city limits. To spend $37 thousand is the dumbest
thing I have ever heard of. Keep your school seperate but,
you should pay the same plus a % in city school taxes as soon
as your kids hit the middle school and high school! If I were
mayor of GF or superintendent of schools you would be part of the school district.

Welcome to the discussion.

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