LIVINGSTON MANOR — About 25 people attended the June 6 meeting of the Livingston Manor-Roscoe Merger Advisory Committee at LMCS. The event was also live-streamed. The meeting featured presentations by consultants from Castallo & Silky LLC regarding facilities and transportation within the two districts. A tour of the LMCS school building preceded the meeting.
Information reviewed during the June 6 meeting demonstrated that the Roscoe and LMCS school buildings are roughly the same age (about 80 years old), with Roscoe’s building being slightly smaller than LMCS both in size and number of classrooms. Both facilities have had building surveys completed recently, which identified needed capital improvements.
Neither building has enough classrooms to effectively accommodate all the students in a merged district. However, there was discussion around the fact that a variety of different combinations of grade levels would be possible, with some advocating for an arrangement where each building housed elementary grades. It was noted that LMCS’ athletic facilities are better suited to support a secondary athletics program.
The consultants reiterated that, in a merged district, any and all property that is now part of the Roscoe and LMCS school districts would be owned and managed in common by the merged district. This would mean that any decisions on how the existing facilities would be used would be a decision of the (merged) school board.
There was also a discussion about building aid, or financial aid paid to school districts by the state of New York for building projects. The consultants noted that the state must approve aid for any construction project, and that the state’s decision cannot always be known in advance of construction. However, this uncertainty would not be impacted in any way by a merger.
The consultants reviewed details of the districts’ transportation programs, which are both served by the Rolling V bus company (neither district owns school buses or employs drivers). The two districts have bus run times ranging from 20 minutes to 70 minutes, with Roscoe’s bus run times averaging somewhat less than LMCS’. The two school buildings are seven miles apart.
To consider what transportation needs might be like in a merged district, the consultants analyzed the possibility of keeping existing bus runs, and shuttling students between the two buildings as needed. They noted that this would increase transportation costs by about $88,000 and add 10 to 15 minutes to some bus runs. Other transportation configurations were suggested during the meeting.
The consultants noted that districts are free to reconfigure building use, grade levels and transportation routes at any time, including following a merger. “You have to start somewhere, and it may not be perfect,” Alan Pole explained.
The committee’s next meeting, scheduled for 5:30 p.m. June 28 at Roscoe CSD, will review staffing and, time permitting, finances. It will be live-streamed at https://E2CCB-GST.zoom.us/j/99420086639. If necessary, the committee may meet again in July to complete its review before a draft report is presented to the committee on July 25. A meeting that had been scheduled for May was canceled due to weather.
The districts are also planning to host a series of forums about the possible merger, scheduled as follows:
- July 19: 6:30-7:30 p.m. via Zoom (link to be provided)
- July 21: 10-11 a.m., Roscoe CSD (in-person)
- July 21: 3-4 p.m., Livingston Manor CSD (in-person)
To RSVP for a focus group, district residents can call their local district office, or complete an online form: https://forms.gle/T8kjPSLonhEpUW1w6 . All are welcome to attend, but RSVP is requested to ensure that each school can accommodate all attendees.