The Penn Yan and Dundee Central School Districts have taken the idea of a merger off the table as they continue discussions about ways to offer students more opportunities through two committees with specific focuses.

Last week the schools each circulated statements about the outcome of surveys in the communities, both making it clear that any conversations of exploring a possible merger have ended. “DCS will continue to be involved in two different committees that will have ongoing conversations of ways to enhance, create and sustain student opportunities through collaboration, however, at this time, we have decided to end any conversations of exploring a possible merger,” said Dundee Central School Board of Education President Laurie Richer.

In his statement, Howard Dennis, superintendent of Penn Yan Central School District explained, “Through the survey, it became evident that our school community supports the possibility of sharing different programs to encourage student success when appropriate.”

One of the committees has been charged with exploring ways the district’s sports programs could work together. That committee has met and began discussions about football programs, but Dennis says Section V officials are looking at other options, including a form of football requiring fewer players on the field. He says the committee may begin looking at possibilities in other sports.

Administrators will begin meeting this week to begin discussions about academic areas that can be explored by the second committee, according to Dennis.

The statements from both schools thanked those who participated in the surveys and discussions which began in July in light of declining enrollments and increasing financial challenges in both districts.

“The surveys provided feedback and information from our community, staff, and students about their own thoughts, beliefs, and areas of focus for DCS. It is evident through all surveys received, that DCS stakeholders are invested in our school, in our community, and committed to creating an educational journey for our students that leads to a successful furture, regardless of what pathway a student chooses,” said Richer.

Dennis says the school community will be informed about the committees’ findings.

Dundee bowling returns

In other local school news last week, Dundee Central School Superintendent Kelly Houck told board of education members that the school will have a bowling team for the next two years, phasing the sport out over that period. Earlier this year a decision had been made to discontinue the sport, again because of decreased numbers of students involved in sports. But seven boys and seven girls have shown interest in bowling.