Cheektowaga's 4 School Districts Consider Merger

January 29, 2013 Updated Jan 29, 2013 at 12:23 AM EDT

By John Borsa

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January 29, 2013 Updated Jan 29, 2013 at 12:23 AM EDT

CHEEKTOWAGA, NY (WKBW) - To merge or not to merge? That is the question parents are asking in the Town of Cheektowaga where four districts educate more than 7,000 students.

"I think it should be looked at because there should be able to be some cost savings," said taxpayer Beth Flynn.

Cheektowaga Central, Cheektowaga-Maryvale, Cheektowaga-Sloan and Cleveland Hill school districts voted to study the concept, which will not necessarily save taxpayers money, according to experts.

"Well actually there's no evidence that any regionalism and consolidation leads to money-savers," said Dr. Rick Timbs, with the Statewide School Finance Consortium. "Because sometimes what happens is where we save money on what item we may decide to increase opportunities and programs on the other hand."

Dr. Timbs held an informational seminar for parents at Cleveland Hill High School on Monday night when the Cheektowaga Joint School Board met.

But even if taxpayers do not save any money under a merger, some parents and educators say it could expand opportunities for students.

I don't think it's equal that in each of the districts -- Cleve Hill for example has such little tax base compared to some of the other districts," said Flynn.

"Some of the classes at Cheektowaga Central -- some of our children could really use -- some of them when they graduate, going into college," said Cheektowaga-Sloan School Board President Gary Sieczkarek. "Some of ours are getting a little further back because they don't have that opportunity."

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