Approval by the state Senate for a regional high school is another small step toward improving future educational opportunities for students of area districts.
But there are other huge hurdles facing the plan besides just the state Assembly and the governor. That big hurdle is the proud and longtime residents of rural districts who have shunned mergers in the past.
How in the world do we in Chautauqua County continue to justify 18 school districts in a county with a population of 134,000 people? Some do so by continuously fooling ourselves that we will lose an identity if we merge or consolidate.
If you take away the county's two cities and school districts - Dunkirk and Jamestown - we have 16 school districts serving 92,000 residents, or one school district for every 5,740 people.
A regional high school, which apparently has plenty of support now from some school boards and rural residents, is still a consolidation. It means an identity will be lost.
Since 1995, however, no one has been willing to lose that identity. And while this newspaper will promote any idea that encourages better educational opportunities that are delivered more efficiently, we are just not certain whether residents will be on board with a regional high school.
Our thanks to state Sen. Catharine Young for her work on the measure. Let's hope residents continue to clamor for this to happen.
But let's not forget one other thing in the merger votes we have seen in the past: just because residents get out and vote, it does not mean their "local" decision brings the best result possible for all involved.