Schenevus and Worcester face similar long-term financial challenges: declining enrollments, lack of economic growth in the region to support the tax base, and increasing expenses. A study gives both districts the opportunity to learn if a merger could support cost savings and increased educational opportunities.
For Schenevus, the need to explore a merger is viewed as urgent to the district’s continued existence. District officials advise that the district is operating at a structural deficit. If the district does not merge with another district or send students to another district on a tuition basis, it faces the possibility of being unable to fund an adequate K-12 education program. If the district cannot meet federal and state mandates, it risks being dissolved by the state, at which point Schenevus students would be redistributed among neighboring districts (including Worcester).
For Worcester, the need to explore a merger is less urgent, but the district does recognize that being proactive is in the best interest of the community. Given this, Worcester’s Board of Education believed an annexation study was the only type of study that the community would support.
Both boards agreed that agreeing to an annexation was preferable to walking away from the merger study process.