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Four local school boards talk about the future

Alan Pole leads discussion on shared services, merger

Alan Pole talks with the more than 100 people who attended a discussion on the future of local school districts in the Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School auditorium Oct. 19.

Alan Pole talks with the more than 100 people who attended a discussion on the future of local school districts in the Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School auditorium Oct. 19. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— It was not an answer, but it was a chance to start to answer the questions.

Former school administrator Alan D. Pole, who started his education career at Chazy Central Rural School, returned to the North Country to address over 100 people that had assembled in the Elizabethtown-Lewis auditorium Oct. 18 about the future of education and school districts in New York state.

The event was put on by a joint partnership between the school boards of Elizabethtown-Lewis, Westport, Keene and Willsboro central schools. ELCS Superintendent Gail Else introduced Pole and talked about what the evening would be about.

“We are trying to bring information to the people so we can begin to explore avenues in order to meet the challenges that are facing schools today,” Else said.

Pole said that those challenges include the need to raise performance in schools while dealing with declines in enrollment as well as in state aid and revenue.

“This is a conversation that is going on across New York state school districts,” Pole said. “One of the fears that I have is that people think that I am coming to say that I believe that school districts should merge, but I am really here to start a conversation, and people should start talking about what the future should look like.”

Pole also said that his ideas were just that until a local school board or boards started to seriously look into the options.

“Until someone sits down and takes a hard look at these districts, then we are just talking,” Pole said. “I don’t think that the system of education that we have built and that I worked for in New York state for 35 years can sustain itself.”

Read more in the Oct. 29 edition of the Valley News

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