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Hamilton and Morrisville Eaton schools look into possible merger

By HILARY LANE

HAMILTON and MORRISVILLE, N.Y. (WKTV) - A one year merger study is underway to study the impact consolidation would have on Hamilton Central and Morrisville-Eaton school districts.

Michael Drahos, Morrisville-Eaton Central School Superintendent, says that the district has been struggling since state funding decreased in 2008. Ever since then, he has cut programs and 20 percent of the district's workforce which has left devastating impacts on the schools.

"In 2006 and 2007 we were recognized by Newsweek as being one of the nation's best high schools because of our AP offerings," said Drahos. "We had nine classes offering for our kids. Now we are offering zero AP courses because we have had to cut any course which has 10 or fewer kids."

Diana Bower, Superintendent of Hamilton Central Schools, says her district is also trying to keep their head above water. Some course offerings have already been eliminated and four teaching jobs could be cut for next year.

"We are starting to see the quality of some of our programs dwindling," said Bower. "We have been doing everything we can to modify that and prevent that from happening on a full scale, but it is very difficult and it keeps getting worse."

If the two school systems merge, the combined district would receive $2 million in incentive aid to restore programs and offer students a better quality education.

"We have to do something to stem that tide so that our kids get a fair education and are ready to compete and be successful," said Drahos.

After the one year merger study is complete, residents in both districts will be able to cast their ballots in a straw vote. If the proposal passes, it will then be sent to the State Department of Education and then back to each district for a final vote.

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