After reading Oppenheim-Ephratah school board member Glenn Blanchard's letter to the editor, I find myself more confused than ever. Are the unfunded mandates breaking us or are we flush with a million dollars in cash? Did more than 40 students leave Oppenheim because of the value of the education in St. Johnsville? Is closing the high school and eliminating its identity the same as saving the school with or without a merger?
But what both sides can agree on is what they voted for in the last merger vote looks nothing like what Mr. Blanchard is proposing. Both sides of the debate voted in their own way to preserve a small rural school and the "ambience" Mr. Blanchard talks about. Neither side voted for closing the high school and eliminating the staff and all high school activities and marching band. There will be no representation on the school board or voting on budgets if kids are tuitioned out. That sounds like taxation without representation. The students would be sent to schools with student bodies of 1,000 to 2,000 students. So much for "bigger isn't better."
The merged district would have around 700 students, our name would appear on the building, we would have school board members and vote on budgets. If the merger does not go through, tuitioning may be our only option in a couple years.
Lastly, the comment that 66 students from the district are going to Dolgeville and not St. Johnsville; that being a comment on the value of the education in St. Johnsville is a bit of a stretch. The fact parents took their children out of the education system they have been in for years, and paid taxes in while Mr. Blanchard was overseeing the system as school board president, has a lot more to say about the job you're doing than what is going on in St. Johnsville.
My two children go to OECS, and I hope they graduate from a merged district or stable OECS. When I voted for Mr. Blanchard, I thought he felt the same way.