Maybe there’s something to this school consolidation business after all.
That is, in the North Fork’s easternmost communities.
You might think that the Greenport and Oysterponds school districts, which in addition to being neighbors have a long-standing business relationship, would get along with each other — but you would be wrong.
A divided Oysterponds school board this week slashed three years off the five-year contract with Greenport to educate Orient and East Marion students from grades six to 12. Oysterponds, like New Suffolk, is a K-6 school. Only two years ago an Oysterponds committee was charged with investigating the potential for its youths to complete junior high and high school in another district, such as Southold or Mattituck.
All this begs the question, why operate two separate school districts? To combine Greenport and Oysterponds, as Mattituck and Laurel did in the 1990s, would end the endless bickering and negotiating, provide true and lasting educational stability and address the property tax inequities between the two districts.
While the economies of scale would be limited, administrative staff certainly could shrink. Consolidation would also close out the long-running soap opera that is any Oysterponds school board meeting.
Perhaps it’s time for the two districts to form a task force to investigate the potential pitfalls and benefits of consolidation. Perhaps the schools could concentrate on the job of teaching and molding new generations and end the carping and finger-pointing.