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Hammond to discuss merger with Morristown

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HAMMOND - Hammond’s School Board of Education President said Friday he is open to discussing a possible merger with Morristown Central School with fellow board members.

The Morristown Central School Board of Education voted against pursuing a tuitioning agreement with Heuvelton Wednesday. Instead, the district has decided to send a letter of inquiry to Hammond Central School, asking them to discuss a possible merger.

Hammond Board of Education President Timothy Pitcher said Friday he has not yet seen the letter from the Morristown Board of Education, but he is open-minded about discussing a possible merger.

“We will discuss all possibilities,” Mr. Pitcher said. “It’s not like we haven’t talked about it before. It may come down the road, we have to be prepared.”

Mr. Pitcher said the Hammond is in good fiscal condition, but that might change if the state continues to cut funding.

“We don’t have to do anything right at this moment,” Mr. Pitcher said. “Right now our main focus is trying square away our new interim superintendent.”

Morristown Vice President Darrell Merkell has said that a merger between the schools could end Hammond’s search for a permanent superintendent as there would only need to be one superintendent for the newly-formed district.

In case of a merger, Mr. Pitcher said the districts would need to build a new school because they are too small to accommodate the 800 students total in both districts.

Hammond Central School is about 10 miles away from Morristown. Another merger option for Hammond is Alexandria Bay Central School, which is about 21 miles away.

“I don’t think it’s something we should ignore, education is changing and we have to be open to that,” Hammond school board member Bernard A. Martin said.

Mr. Martin declined to comment further until the board has discussed the issue.

The school board will meet Oct. 8 at 7:30 p.m. in the Hammond Central School Library.

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