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The Berkshires

One last vote for Oppenheim-Ephratah and St. Johnsville merger

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Albany/HV: One last vote for Oppenheim-Ephratah and St. Johnsville merger
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Cuts, cuts and more cuts. It seems to be the ongoing pattern in schools across the state. But as YNN's Maria Valvanis explains, two districts are getting a second chance at becoming one so that they can offer students more.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, N.Y. -- The Oppenheim-Ephratah School District will vote again on whether to merge with St. Johnsville to help ease money problems for both districts.

"We're trying to survive in a severe economic hardship period with increasing academic needs for our students. Our students’ needs aren't going away and how we're going to pay for them, I don't have an answer right now," said Oppenheim-Ephratah Superintendent Dan M. Russom.

Russom says a merger would bring along $14 million of incentive aide over a 14 year period.

"St. Johnsville already approved ,so they don't need to approve again, it's just here."

"We feel that they want the same that we do for our children and I hope that they will vote yes for it," said St. Johnsville resident, Gary Warn.

This is the last chance voters will have to approve the merger. If they turn it down twice, the offer is off the table.

Oppenheim resident Donald Lasher said, "I try to think of what's best for the kids. They're who will be running our country next."

But without the merger, both schools face a daunting future full of cuts.

"Two years ago, we cut teaching staff, reduced several to part time. Last year, we cut non instructional staff and we're going to have to continue to look at such things to maintain an educational plan for our students," Russom said.

Voting will take place December 11th at the Oppeheim-Ephratah school from noon to 8 p.m.

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