In recent history, proposals to consolidate schools - especially when they hit the voting booths - have been losing propositions.
From trying to join Fredonia and Brocton to the effort to combine Westfield and Ripley - even in 1982, uncertainty brings a backlash from voters who fail to look past school colors to see the true picture. Small districts - with enrollments of 600 or less - are no longer sustainable in a 21st century economy. And as state aid continues to dry up, the burden becomes even larger on the backs of the smaller number of local taxpayers.
That is the bad news.
The good news, however, is that schools have learned about their competitive disadvantage. Because enrollments have continued a steady decline - in some cases, sharply - sporting teams have had to combine.
Results of these combinations, without question, have brought a winning spirit. Consider these examples:
Westfield and Brocton has teamed up for football. And while Westfield is the home field for many of the games, Brocton hosted one on Friday for homecoming. Also, it must be noted, the Wolverines beat highly touted Southwestern earlier this year.
Forestville and Silver Creek have younger players teaming up for modified sporting events.
After some debate, Fredonia welcomed two runners to its indoor team from Westfield.
And even larger schools, such as Dunkirk and Silver Creek, are teaming up in girls swimming competitions.
So while the reality for the need to merge schools has still not sunk in with many residents here, it already has happened with the sporting teams.
That, in itself, can be considered a small victory.