FORT EDWARD — Hudson Falls school officials are interested in doing a study of a merger with Fort Edward but do not want to pay for it.
“Hudson Falls would be interested in thinking and talking and working on a merger with Fort Edward if that’s what they need. It’s definitely something that we would accommodate,” said Hudson Falls Superintendent of Schools Linda Goewey on Friday. “At this point, I didn’t see a need to spend the $5,000 for the pre-merger study.”
Fort Edward wants to hire the Syracuse-based educational consulting firm Castallo & Silky to conduct a study of a potential merger with another district.
Fort Edward is facing long-term financial challenges with the loss of tax revenue from the reduced tax assessment for the now-closed former General Electric Co. dewatering facility.
Goewey said it makes sense for Fort Edward to fund the study because it is initiating the study.
“I didn’t have $5,000 budgeted for anything like that because I didn’t know about until it recently,” she said.
She said she has spoken to Fort Edward school Superintendent Daniel Ward about this issue.
Goewey said her district, which has 2,364 students as of October, has the capacity to accommodate Fort Edward’s 512 students.
“We would certainly have to make some changes. All that would certainly be worked out beforehand. Those would be further discussions,” she said.
Hudson Falls has five buildings — the kindergarten center, primary school for grades one through three, intermediate school for grades four and five, the middle school and the high school.
Goewey said she is open to discussions of working with Fort Edward.
“We’re doing the best for both districts. The bottom line for me is it’s always about kids — our kids and Fort Edward kids. We’ll make sure it works out for them, however it ends,” she said.
Goewey said the district is just beginning to have discussions about its 2018-19 budget. She was disappointed with the governor’s initial proposal, which she said had a low amount of aid for Hudson Falls. The district is hoping for help from the legislators.
“We’re evaluating all of our programs,” she said.