Will Chenango Forks and Chenango Valley merge?

By Jillian Marshall

September 19, 2013 Updated Sep 19, 2013 at 11:59 PM EDT

Town of Fenton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Years of struggling financially and facing large amounts of debt has led two neighboring school districts looking to find financial relief from each other.

A Reorganization Feasibility Study Report by the OLS Study Team was presented to Chenango Forks and Chenango Valley school boards Thursday night.

If the two districts combine, it will make them the sixth largest district in the Broome-Tioga BOCES area.

The study says starting in the 2014-2015 school year, Chenango Valley High School will be the high school in the district and Chenango Forks High School will turn into the new middle school.

"I'm supportive of it, I don't think they would be able to maintain the same level of programs that they have today unless they merge," said Chenango Valley parent William David.

David said he welcomes the merger, but says the tax rates will either make or break the consolidation.

The study proposes a tax rate that would increase Chenango Fork's taxes by almost $300 pere $100,000 of assessed valuation, while lowering Chenango Valley tax rate by about $200 per $100,000 of assessed valuation.

Chenango Forks alum, Lisa Warner, thinks the districts should stay separate, and so does her Chenango Forks sophomore daughter, Kylee.

"She is very excited about graduating from her home school and this would take place at her junior year," Warner said.

The merger would mean the loss of some administrative positions and an estimated 350 students won't be able to participate in school sports.

If the schools merge, it will be up to the new school board to come up with a name and a mascot.

The consolidation study is available online on both school district's websites, click here for Chenango Valley and click here for Chenango Forks.

A public information session is set for Oct. 2 at Chenango Forks High School.

Both school boards are set to vote on the merger on Oct. 28, with a pubic vote to follow.