Piseco school district in Hamilton County will cease operations

One of the smallest school districts in the Adirondack Park voted yesterday to close its doors and bus local kids to another school ten miles away.

The elementary school in Piseco, in Hamilton County, will cease operation this fall.  Ten school children will be affected by the decision and at least three teachers will lose their positions.

112 local residents voted in favor of the change on Tuesday.  27 people voted to keep the school open.

Piseco superintendent Peter Hallock said he wasn’t surprised by the outcome of the election.

“This has been difficult for the community,” Hallock said last night, in an interview with North Country Public Radio.

“But when you think about what’s best for the children, we’ve done the right thing.”

Piseco’s students will be bused to the Lake Pleasant Elementary School in Speculator, which has 56 kids in grades K through 9.

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Voters in the Lake Pleasant school district, meanwhile, decided overwhelmingly last year to reject a plan that would have merged their school system with the district in the town of Wells.

The school district only operates K-9 instruction.  High schoolers already go to the school in Wells.

School consolidation has been a growing topic in recent years, due in part to budget pressures and to growing efforts by the Cuomo administration to encourage partnerships between districts with fewer than 1,000 students.


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18 Comments on “Piseco school district in Hamilton County will cease operations”

  1. Pete Klein says:

    This was not surprising, considering Piseco is only a few miles down the road from the Lake Pleasant school.

  2. Paul says:

    56 kids in Lake Pleasant? Sound like they might be the next domino.

  3. Dave says:

    10 miles away? I suppose a legitimate question is why were there two schools that close to one another to begin with.

    I grew up in a city and was bused much farther than that.

  4. Ken Hall says:

    “Ten school children will be affected by the decision and at least three teachers will lose their positions.”

    If this statement is factual it is astounding in it’s implications. In 1951-52 I attended the Wanakena one room school with at least a dozen, likely more, students in various grades with a single school teacher holding sway. By the above calculations she needed another three teachers to help her out. Unbelievable!

  5. Pete Klein says:

    If you know anything about Adirondack history, you know there were many one-room schools in the past.
    An example of just one that should be easily recognized is in Blue Mnt. Lake.
    Just before you start going up the hill to the Adirondack Museum is what is now Blue Mnt. Design. It was a school.
    By the way for those who are all worried about taxes, are you willing to close all the schools to save money? Sounds like a plan?
    If we did that, just think of all the jobs we can bring back to this country because Americans will lead the world in dumbness and will work for a dollar or two a day. Won’t that be wonderful!

  6. Larry says:

    112 to 27? Doesn’t sound like it was that difficult. Ken Hall, your calculations are right on target and pointedly illustrate the problem with keeping small, rural schools open: wasteful spending. At least 3 teachers and a Superintendent for 10 students? I’m surprised 27 people voted to keep the school open.

  7. Larry says:

    Don’t want to close all the schools, Pete, just the ones that are wasting our money. A student to teacher ratio of three to one is practically private tutoring and sadly, is unaffordable, especially when you throw in the Superintendent’s salary.

  8. Pete Klein says:

    Larry, you’re correct but it was concerns over taxes that kept Lake Pleasant voters voting to keep their school open.
    Piseco like Raquette Lake before it, voted their pocket books. Not all consolidations are equal.

  9. Larry says:

    At some point it becomes a matter of practicality and not just of voting one’s pocketbook.

  10. mervel says:

    They have a superintendent for 10 students? I HOPE that it was a voluntary position. The fact that we can talk about having a superintendent and three teachers and a building and janitors for 10 students is INSANE.

  11. mervel says:

    PLEASE tell me they didn’t also have a principle?

  12. Paul says:

    Mervel, do you also think it is insane with 60 students?

  13. mervel says:

    For an entire district? or a individual school? OF course it is for a district. I realize that would include several more districts in the North Country.

    What is ironic is that if this school district had simply consolidated, they would have had a much higher probability of keeping their little one room school going. You could justify one teacher in a larger district for a tiny school like this one.

  14. mervel says:

    Its very very hard to justify an administration and three teachers for a ten child district.

    I think however that if local taxpayers want to entirely foot the bill for that sort of arrangement that would be there option. As a state taxpayer I would have a real problem with my state tax dollars in the form of state school aid going to support these sorts of nutty configurations.

  15. Larry says:

    Agreed, Mervel, local taxpayers should have whatever they want and can afford. State funding for education, however, is being dragged down by wasteful and fanciful programs like 10 student districts and foreign students. Maybe there should be minimum requirements before a district can get state funding.

  16. zeke says:

    Education is being dragged down by the huge increase in health insurance and the increase in the number of people getting an education paycheck who have nothing to do with students. For example; Pearson Education and other education consultants.

  17. If Clapton is God, Warren Haynes is Jesus says:

    The ratio certainly appears out of whack, but there could be teacher certification and state ed. requirements at play here. There’s simply not enough information provided in the post to determine what the positions are what the individual certifications of each employee are.

  18. Janice says:

    Piseco: They had 24 students but parents of 14 had told the Board they were going to send their children to Lake Pleasant, that is why they ended up with 10 students for next year. School taxes on properties in Piseco are about a third of what property owners pay for the Lake Pleasant School taxes. Also there were not janitors, there was one janitor who is also head of transportation, water quality control person, handy man, plus some other little jobs. I know that is my husband. It was a great school and the children did very well when they went on to other schools so it is sad to see it go. Some of these comments about small schools, please know that Hamilton County is the least populated county in NYS and of any county east of the Mississippi, so no school is going to have a large student body. And another thing, Piseco Common School did not get state funding.

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