CF CV Merger Study Continues, One Step at a Time

By Erika Mahoney

February 6, 2013 Updated Feb 6, 2013 at 7:45 AM EDT

Town of Chenango, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Chenango Forks, Chenango Valley Study Committee has a lot of work to do.

"A lot of it is digesting a lot of information," said Dr. Dennis Sweeney, a consultant for Organizational Leaders Services.

Together, the 24 member team made up of students, staff and community members, will help consultants in charge of conducting and studying the results of a six-month long study on the merger.

The study kicked off in early January and so far, consultants say things are going well.

"It's a great start," said Organizational Leaders Services Consultant Doug Hamlin. "There's a long way to go and we anticipate a lot of work, but smooth sailing to get the work done and a report written."

The committee is also in charge of making a recommendation to the two school boards on what they think should happen.

Their recommendation is important; it could affect about 3,700 students and their families if the districts do merge.

But it's much to early to determine whether that will happen and whether the board will lean in that direction.

The final report on the study, which will go to the New York State Education Department, isn't due until the end of June, when the committee will voice their opinion.

Until then, members will be learning and studying a lot of information. In order to make it manageable, the meetings focus on specific subjects.

During the second meeting, on Tuesday, the committee took a look at what a merged school district would mean for high school academics, extracurricular activities and athletics.

One committee member, a Chenango Forks junior who plays basketball, football and baseball, shared his concerns on what the merger would mean for sports teams.

"It might not give everyone an equal opportunity because with the combined school you have one team instead of two, so you have twice as many kids trying out for one team, which would mean more cuts," Junior Andrew Ziegenfus said.

The committee also shared their thoughts with each other as they toured the school.

"The committee members are doing due diligence before they have a discussion and come to a decision next meeting," Sweeney said.

The tour was a move in preparation for their third meeting. The topic: which district should house the high school and which district should house the middle school.

Now even if the committee recommends a merger, the two schools boards still have to decide what they want with a final vote left up to the public.

If it passes, consultants said the merger would most likely take effect at the start of the 2014 school year.