continued The two schools boards met in joint session Dec. 4 to begin the process.
“I thought it went very well,” McDonald said. “There’s a lot to be done, a long way to go. I thought it was very positive.”
If the advisory and school boards decide to proceed following the study, they must then decide whether to seek a merger or an annexation. A merger combines two school districts into a new district. An annexation simply closes one school and sends its students to the other.
As examples, McDonald pointed to the merger of the Port Henry and Mineville schools in 1967 to make the Moriah Central School and the annexation of the Hague school in 1979 into the Ticonderoga Central School District.
For either a merger or annexation to take place, there must be affirmative votes by the advisory board in each district, each school board and the residents of each school district. Any negative vote kills a possible consolidation.
“There will be six votes,” McDonald said. “If any one of them is negative that’s the end of it.”
Brannock and McDonald agreed a possible consolidation is far from a sure thing.
“As the study progresses, there is a requirement that taxpayers in both communities have opportunities to vote and they will make the final decision about how we operate in the future,” Brannock said. “We are fortunate, in these tough fiscal times, to have the grant to help us secure our future.”
Enrollments at both schools are falling. In the 2005-06 academic year Ti had 1,007 students and Crown Point 281. This school year Ti has 850 and Crown Point 265. The projected 2016-17 enrollments are 779 for Ti and 257 for Crown Point.
Poverty rates are increasing in both schools. The percentage of students receiving free or reduced-price lunches in the 2005-06 academic year was 43 percent in Ti and 54 percent in Crown Point. Those rates rose to 49 percent in Ti and 57 in Crown Point in 2011-12.