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Why merging schools wasn't included in Consensus CNY report

Ryan Delaney
WRVO News File Photo

One topic that’s missing from the Consensus CNY Commission’s 80-page report on government modernization released earlier this week, are suggestions to modernize the way schools are run. 

Consensus has developed a list of over 50 proposals to modernize government in Onondaga County, including creation of a new county-wide metropolitan government that would merge the county with the city of Syracuse. 

However, schools are just too complicated to get include in the initial round of studies of government operation, according to commission co-chair Catherine Richardson.

"When we hired CGR [consultants] to do our baseline study -- who does what and how much does it cost. School systems were an entirely different framework in how they report to the state, so we couldn’t even come up with a baseline report,” said Richardson.

Still Richardson thinks schools should be examined in the context of the Consensus goal of modernizing government. So she hopes to suggest that when the current commission disbands in April, another takes its place to focus on education.

Commission member Donna DeSiato, superintendent of the East Syracuse Minoa School District, agrees that even though it is a complicated subject, it should be tackled, especially considering the decreasing population in New York state.

"It’s going to be essential that we begin to look at how do we really stay ahead of that change, by creating systems and structures that will allow a community grow, rather than be stifled by constraints, that might have been created with all good intents 15 and 20 years ago, that today are no longer sufficient,” said DeSiato.

The Consensus Commission on Government Modernization is seeking comment from the public on its recommendations before issuing a final report in April.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.