JAMESTOWN – The effort to get state approval for the creation of a regional high school that would provide more opportunities for students in small school districts is gaining momentum. That from State Senator Cathy Young (R-Olean), who held a roundtable discussion Thursday afternoon on a proposal to create a regional high school in Chautauqua County.
Among those in attendance for the roundtable were school board members, officials and students from Ripley, Brocton, Westfield and Chautauqua Lake – the four districts involved with the idea of forming a regional high school. Senator Young said bringing those participants on board was very helpful in learning more about how a regional high school would impact local districts. She also said state officials are starting to show more support for the regional high school concept – with both the governor and state education department showing interest – although at this point the state assembly is still on the fence.
Assemblyman Andrew Goodell (R-Jamestown) also took part in the roundtable discussion. He said that while the state assembly did not approve a former version of a regional high school bill last year, he added that progress is being made this session to get a new version approved. In addition to Assemblyman Goodell, State Senator John Flanagan (R-Long Island) – who chairs the Senate Education Committee – also attended the forum.
State lawmakers are actually considering two pieces of legislation involving regional high schools. One would apply to school districts across the state while the other pertains to only districts in Senator Young’s Senate district. Small school districts across the state are pursuing the idea of pooling their resources and creating a regional high school in order to provide better learning opportunities for an ever-shrinking student population.
Both Young and Goodell would like to see at least one version of both bills approved by the state legislature before the current session ends next month.