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December 2, 2009 - John D'Agostino
Some residents of the Brocton and Fredonia school districts are making their opinions known on the Dec. 15 advisory vote regarding centralization.
Though the vote only allows the centralization process to continue, those opposed to any plan dealing with Brocton and Fredonia partnering to better the educational opportunities of students want this idea ended — the sooner the better.
As expected, most of the foes for this plan come from the smaller district. But what many forget is how this whole process truly started.
In January 2008, a community meeting was held by the Brocton schools. At that time, the board talked about how future opportunities in Brocton would be limited and how tax rates would rise for district residents if the school continued on the same path. As part of the presentation, school Superintendent Jack Skahill also showed how enrollments in the district were decreasing. The less the enrollment, the less amount of aid from New York state
Declining enrollments were not a new trend — and the reality was it would get worse, not better. The choices were simply this: should Brocton continue to go at it alone and continue to raise the tax burden or should the district look for a partner?
A strong majority in the audience that night wanted a partner. Some suggested Westfield, but the suggestion of talking with Fredonia earned an overwhelming round of appaluse from those in the auditorium.
Simply put, this is how we got to this point. The Brocton school board asked more than 200 community residents how it should move forward during a community meeting that night. Residents were notified of the meeting through the mail and media.
In other words, all district residents were welcome.
Those who attended the community meeting in 2008 made their thoughts known, loud and clear.
The Brocton board, by allowing this vote, is only following the community's wishes.
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"No merger" was not the sentiment of the Brocton community in January 2008 when more than 200 district residents asked the school board to discuss future opportunities with Fredonia.