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School Merger Off The Table For Hornell-Area Districts

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A proposal to merge three schools in the Hornell area is no longer on the table. Arkport, Alfred-Almond, and Canaseraga districts voted down a merger plan Thursday.

The plan lost by fairly small margins in Arkport and Canaseraga, 308-210 and 179-135, respectively. Alfred-Almond had a bigger share of ‘no’ votes, with a 582-134 result.

“We’ll move on,” says Arkport Superintendent Glenn Niles. “It’s nice to see there wasn’t too big a spread between the ‘yes’s’ and the ‘no’s’, so there is a perceived need out there.”

Niles says the schools might revisit the merger in the future, depending on how much state aid they get next year and whether enrollment continues to decline. He says from his vantage point, consolidation seemed like a good idea.

“It was a unique opportunity to have some fiscal stability for quite a few years, and also to offer some unique programming that we just aren’t going to be able to offer in the foreseeable future,” Niles says.

The community, though, evidently doesn’t feel that need yet. “I’m glad that they still feel we’re a very viable school and are able to make it on our own,” Niles says.

The districts had been studying consolidation for two and a half years. The proposal would have put an elementary school in each of the three communities, a junior high school in Arkport and a high school at Alfred-Almond.