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Potsdam BOE approves members for Joint Advisory Committee to offer merger input

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POTSDAM — The Potsdam Board of Education on Tuesday approved 11 members for the Joint Advisory Committee, a varied group of volunteers who will study merging the Potsdam and Canton school districts.

The committee will consist of 28 members, 14 from each district, who will meet once a month during the feasibility study to provide input and feedback to the consultants.

Potsdam Superintendent Patrick H. Brady said that, although he recommended 11 committee members whom the board approved, three more still must be found and approved before the first Joint Advisory Committee meeting next week.

“Canton’s still looking for a few,” Mr. Brady said. “They’re having a special meeting on the 14th in order to make their appointment, but rather than put you guys through another special meeting, I would ask that we just find those three additional people and have you retroactively appoint them.”

The committee will include students, teachers, parents, administrators and community members from both Canton and Potsdam districts.

The 11 members approved Tuesday include Natalie Higley, a high school parent; Kim Busch, a middle school parent; Maureen Moose, an elementary school parent; teachers Emily Brouwer and Robin Hart; Bill Sokol, a student; Brian Grant from Clarkson University; Melissa Cummings from SUNY Potsdam; Joann Chambers, a Potsdam administrator; Rob Bicknell, a community member; and Theresa Witmer, a retired music teacher.

The three spots left to fill are a non-teaching staff member, a senior citizen and an athletics leader.

The first work session meeting for the Joint Advisory Committee is scheduled for Nov. 20.

The board briefly discussed whether public comments should be allowed during the work sessions.

“There will be other venues for public comment,” Mr. Brady said. “They’re going to have a lot of work to do within that time period.”

Mr. Brady said a subcommittee called the Communications Committee recently was established to help both public and internal communication efforts during the merger initiative.

The Communications Committee will meet Tuesday to decide whether public comment will be accepted during the monthly work sessions of the Joint Advisory Committee.

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