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School boards going forward with Canton and Potsdam merger study

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POTSDAM — School boards in Canton and Potsdam voted unanimously Tuesday to pursue a feasibility study that will look at merging the two districts.

Potsdam Superintendent Patrick H. Brady said the study is expected to cost around $50,000.

To cover its half of the costs, should they not be successful in obtaining an efficiency grant from the Department of State, Potsdam has received $25,000 in member-item aid from Sen. Joseph A. Griffo. Canton is also seeking a state grant to help fund the study.

Mr. Brady said that both he and Canton Superintendent William Gregory were optimistic that state Sen. Patricia A. Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, would come through with a similar grant for Canton, but Mr. Brady said it’s his understanding she is not providing Canton with funding for their share of the grant.

“It appears that’s not going to be the case,” he said.

Should the districts receive an efficiency grant, Mr. Brady said the local share for each district would drop from approximately $25,000 to roughly $12,500.

“The $12,500 would be the district’s share and I see the Griffo money being used for that,” he said.

Should the study end up not costing more than $25,000, Mr. Brady said, the additional $12,500 remaining could be used for “overages or extra costs.”

Mr. Brady said the next steps will be to apply for the efficiency grant, create a request for proposals and then hold a joint board meeting, this time likely in Canton.

He said that meeting would probably happen next month and include the formation of a steering committee to “help move us through the process,” as well as interviews with firms that have submitted proposals for the study.

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