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School mergers: Downsides

June 5, 2013
Steve Cockram , Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

I was tempted to leave this blank.

The biggest fear seems to be a loss of community. The question is what is the size of the community you live in? You probably buy many things locally. If you buy a carton of milk, or pair of shoes, a desk, or a vehicle, what is the size of that local community that you live in?

When I was in elementary school, the Post Office consolidated the three tiny post offices surrounding my house into one main post office. I remember the adults having very animated discussions about losing the very name on their return address, but even back in the 70s our identity was really with the larger community. Farmers here know this, and simply call the area the Grape Belt.

The other downside is the lack of assurances about the future plans for the combined district. I pointed out earlier, the state mandated process is lousy. No current board can guarantee what happens after the merger.

It's just not the way the process works. Sometimes people prefer the devil they know to the angel they don't know. This merger vote is really a gut level check. Given the loss of programming for our children that will occur in separate districts, are we better off together? We may say we don't have any control over what the new board may do, but we do have control. The board will be members of our combined community that we the voters elect, and if we do our duty as citizens we will tell them what we think the best options are.

The views expressed here are my own, not of the Westfield Academy and Central School Board of Education.

Steve Cockram

Westfield, N.Y.

Westfield Academy and Central School Board of Education member



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