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Presentation set on merger proposal

The Fredonia Central School District Board of Education on Tuesday night scheduled a community meeting for 7 p.m. next Tuesday in the high school auditorium to present an overview of the Brocton/Fredonia school district centralization feasibility study.

Moreover, the board wishes to hear comments from district residents about the proposed idea to merge with the Brocton School District.

"We want to hear what the concerns are," Fredonia District Superintendent Paul DiFonzo said. He said he hopes for a good turnout at the meeting.

Robert Guiffreda, Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES District superintendent, was present at Tuesday night's meeting. He recommended the Brocton and Fredonia boards come up with a plan to narrow the feasibility study's five proposed district configurations to just one design.

This could be done by reconvening the 40-member volunteer committee that met for several Saturdays to discuss consolidation, which resulted in the feasibility study document. Another way would be for the two boards to take what they have heard from their respective communities, read the study and come up with a decision collectively.

Guiffreda said it is essential when a straw vote is scheduled that the residents of each of the two districts know exactly what they are voting on. When one district configuration is decided upon, he said, it is important the two boards ensure their populations receive "clear, concise and accurate" information about the design. A straw vote on the combined school plan would be conducted in each district. The results would not be binding but would allow the state education commissioner to determine the interest in the formation of a new district. If there is interest in moving ahead, the commissioner would draw an order for a statutory vote on the centralization. The result of that vote would be binding.

In other business, the board is still discussing the issue of tuition students. A few board members felt the board had decided the matter and now should turn its attention to the proposed centralization. The board's decision was to phase out tuition students from the district. Board President Dan Ihasz and board member Michael Bobseine feel there may still be questions that need to be answered regarding whether to allow tuition students.

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