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Schalmont, Mohonasen try again for grant to study consolidation

Tuesday, February 12, 2013
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— Maybe the second time around will work for the Mohonasen and Schalmont central school districts, which plan to try again for a state grant to study how the two districts could share services or potentially merge.

Both districts will jointly apply for a $40,000 State Local Government Efficiency Grant. They were unsuccessful in obtaining the funding last year in a three-way application with the Duanesburg Central School District, which is not participating this time around.

Schalmont Board of Education President Sandra Beloncik said in the current fiscal climate, school districts have to explore all options for obtaining revenue.

“Anything we can do to defray taxpayer costs and not take it from the students, if at all possible, we’re going to try to do it,” she said.

Mohonasen and Schalmont have been discussing off and on the last few years the idea of a joint bus garage, possibly in conjunction with the town of Rotterdam. Other ideas are to share business administrators, special education services and bus routes, according to Beloncik.

She added that the grant money would only fund a study and not implement any of these options.

School officials have been reviewing the previous application to see if there are ways it could be strengthened, according to Beloncik.

Duanesburg school officials did not give her a reason why they didn’t want to participate this time around, Beloncik said. Duanesburg Superintendent Christine Crowley couldn’t be reached Tuesday.

Mohonasen spokeswoman Adrienne Leon said the deadline to submit the application is March 13.

Both districts have put a survey on their respective websites — www.schalmont.org and www.mohonasen.org — to get the community’s thoughts and concerns, according to Leon. The survey asks residents if they are aware that the districts have been exploring everything from shared services to consolidation, whether they support these ideas and whether they are more in favor of shared services or outright merger, and to share any concerns they have on the issue. There is also a place on the survey for people to make open-ended comments.

Leon said the district would provide a paper copy to anyone who requested it.

Grants are expected to be awarded sometime in the fall.

 
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