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Merger committee discusses enrollment, programs

The Livingston Manor-Roscoe Merger Advisory Committee met Tuesday, April 26, at Roscoe Central School to discuss student enrollment and programs. Before the meeting, Superintendent John Evans led a tour of the Roscoe Central School building. Meeting locations will alternate between the two schools during the course of the study, with the next meeting and building tour scheduled for May 16 at Livingston Manor.  

The meeting was attended by close to 50 people, 17 of whom tuned in via Zoom. Consultants Alan Pole and Deb Ayers of Castallo & Silky LLC presented information to the 18-member Advisory Committee and the audience about each district’s population, and the academic and extracurricular programs offered by each. The idea, Pole explained, was to “build a foundation” of knowledge about the two districts. 

All meetings are open to the public, and Pole emphasized the open and transparent nature of the process. “All of the work is taking place here,” he said, gesturing around the auditorium. 

The following topics were covered in the presentation: 

Enrollment

  • Both districts face declining enrollments, and the trend is expected to continue.
  • New families moving into the area hasn’t affected enrollments in any significant way.
  • The number of students who are homeschooled or who attend school elsewhere is very small. 

Academic and Extracurricular Programs

  • Each school district has different school start and end times, which is common
  • Each district uses different curriculum materials at the elementary level.
  • Average class sizes in both districts are very similar. 
    • If the districts were merged, it would be possible to reduce as many as 22 class sections while still keeping class sizes close to what they are now. For example, if there are three third-grade classrooms between the two school districts, it might be possible to combine those third-graders into two classes in a merged district without significantly impacting class size.
    • This could open up opportunities to either add new classes, or save money by eliminating some positions (which would not necessarily mean anyone would lose their job). 
  • Each district has many classes with fewer than 10 students in the classroom. These small classes can be difficult to sustain as enrollment declines. 
  • Graduation rates and test scores are similar between the two districts. While differences do exist, they are not so dramatic that it would complicate a merger. 

The public is invited to attend the next meeting on May 16 at Livingston Manor Central School, which will cover facilities and transportation. Future meetings will look at staffing (June 6), and finances (June 28). Building tours will begin at 5:15 p.m., with the meeting to follow at 6. A Zoom link will also be provided for anyone who wishes to attend remotely. More information about the proposed merger is at https://www.roscoe.k12.ny.us/page/merger-study and https://www.lmcs.k12.ny.us/domain/1136