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The Times
  • Decision could be made on shared sports

  • Members of the Oppenheim-Ephratah and St. Johnsville school boards met last week to discuss the possibility of merging fall interscholastic sports programs.

    “No formal decision was made, however, it was left that we are interested in re-establishing merged sports with them,” said Oppenheim-Ephratah Central School Superintendent Dan Russom in an e-mail.

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  • Members of the Oppenheim-Ephratah and St. Johnsville school boards met last week to discuss the possibility of merging fall interscholastic sports programs.
    “No formal decision was made, however, it was left that we are interested in re-establishing merged sports with them,” said Oppenheim-Ephratah Central School Superintendent Dan Russom in an e-mail.
    He added two members of the St. Johnsville Board of Education and St. Johnsville Superintendent of Schools Laura Campione attended the informal meeting in the Oppenheim-Ephratah school cafeteria.
    “We anticipate we will receive a formal answer after their meeting this week,” said Russom.
    The St. Johnsville school board is scheduled to meet for a regular monthly session on Thursday evening at 7 p.m. in the district office at the junior-senior high school.
    Campione confirmed in an e-mail Tuesday afternoon the board will discuss the possibility of merging fall sports with Oppenheim during their July 26 meeting, and said last week’s meeting went well.
    “Both boards commented on how the past merged sports created strong friendships with students,” she said, adding she felt the conversation between commissioners was positive.
    “If the St. Johnsville board approves this, we will set up a meeting to move forward,” said Russom.
    The two districts fielded combined teams in several sports under the name St. JOE from 2009 to 2012, when the St. Johnsville Board of Education voted to discontinue the agreement.
    The two school systems were also involved in a merger study. In December 2011, voters in St. Johnsville approved the proposed merger, but voters in Oppenheim-Ephratah turned it down.
    Voters in both districts had to approve the merger for it to go forward.
    Oppenheim-Ephratah and St. Johnsville can still revisit a potential merger, but it would need to be approved by both boards of education and pass two public referendums to occur.
    The Oppenheim-Ephratah school board has also met with the Dolgeville school board about sharing interscholastic sports. During the meeting with Dolgeville, Oppenheim-Ephratah school board member Ben Conte said if sharing sports with St. Johnsville was possible, and if it would help with a potential merger vote, he believed the Oppenheim-Ephratah board and administration should agree to it.
    “However, I do not want the people of Dolgeville to think we are using them or that we consider them to be a fallback. That’s not the case. It’s just I believe if sharing sports with St. Johnsville could lead to a positive merger vote then we have to do it,” he said.
    Campione said Section II’s deadline for notification was May 1 and that she is still waiting for a response from officials indicating whether the merger would be allowed.

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