Though consolidation and shared services were hot issues among Cheektowaga’s four school districts earlier this year, administrators learned Monday they were not awarded a state efficiency grant.
Cleveland Hill Superintendent Jon MacSwan revealed the news during a meeting of the School Board on Wednesday night.
The districts – Cheektowaga Central, Cleveland Hill, Maryvale and Cheektowaga-Sloan – agreed to join together and apply for the efficiency grant, worth about $100,000, which would have explored shared services and consolidation.
“There are great benefits in the merging and consolidation of a small-city school district,” MacSwan said.
“We worked hard and put together a pretty competitive (proposal). Unfortunately, we did not receive the funding for it. It was disappointing because it would have been nice to have had some of these questions answered for the community.”
It’s not the first time the Cheektowaga schools considered consolidation.
A similar study done by the University at Buffalo suggested merging all the districts would not provide the long-term tax savings many residents assumed it would.
And the UB study is the primary reason why the districts agreed to pursue a grant for another study so they wouldn’t have to pay for it.
Regardless, MacSwan said the idea of researching efficiency among the districts is not dead, and administrators discussed pursuing other methods to secure funding.
The state did not state why the districts were denied the funding.
But board President Robert Polino suggested the four districts’ interest in efficiency instead of consolidation may have been a sticking point.
“If it’s not a reorganization (of the districts), what we can do is to continue to save money and help the kids,” MacSwan said.