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."