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Castallo and Silky LLC in the News

The Daily Gazette on April 20,2024 reported tha Castallo & Silky LLC is working with the Chatham CSD Board of Education on its effort to hire a new Superintendent of Schools.  Senior Associate Alan Pole is assisting the Board.  The article describes the Boards involvement of committees in the interview process.  Read the article and see what committees will be involved in interviewing final candidates.


In the June 21, 2023 edition of the Olean Times Herald it was reported that Castallo and Silky LLC associate Jim Frame assisted the Hinsdale CSD Board of Education in hiring its next Superintendent of Schools, Tiffany Giannicchi.  Read the article to find out about her background and preparation for this next step in her career.


North Country Now (subscription required)reported on November 18, 2022 that Senior Associate Alan Pole of Castallo & Silky LLC has again been hired to assist the Massena Central School District Board of Education in its efforts to hire a new Superintendent of Schools.  Alan has worked with the school district on several occasions in the recent past.  Then on December 21, 2022 North Country Now reported that the Board of Education was conducting a survey of the community to see what attributes of the next superintendent would be desired.  After considering an initial pool of candidates, on February 2, 2023 North Country Now reported that the Board of Education elected to reopen the search process and established a new deadline for receipt of applications and on April 27, 2023 the Board announced it had narrowed the applicant pool to five candidates.  Read the latest article to find out about the updated process.


Oswego County News Now reported on August 4, 2022 (subscription may be required) that the Oswego City School District Board of Education was reviewing the final facilities report completed by Castallo & Silky LLC associates Alan Pole and Deb Ayers.  Read the article and see what was recommended.  Then on September 22, 2022 News Now reported that the Board of Education had some concerns about class sizes should a school be closed and agree to discuss next steps at an upcoming meeting including the possible formation of a stakeholder committee to study the final report and make recommendations to the Board. Finally in its October 7, 2022 edition News Now reported that since district enrollment has been dropping class sizes could likely remain small due to attrition of staff according to the Superintendent. Finally, New Now reported on November 17, 2022 the Oswego Board voted 5-1 to keep the elementary school open and not repurpose it.


NNY 360 reported on July 12, 2022 (subscription required to read the full article) that one member of the Massena Central School District Board of Education was questioning whether the district should revisit reorganizing its elementary schools as stiudied several years ago by Castallo & Silky LLC associates Alan Pole and Jessica Cohen.  Read the article and see how this discussion went.


The Evening Sun in Chenango County on March 25, 2022 reported that Associate Jessica Cohen of Castallo & Silky LLC will be assisting the Afton Central School District Board of Education in its efforts to hire a new Superintendent of Schools.  The Board is inviting residents to complete an on-line survey to help identify desired attributes of the next superintendent.  


In the January 25. 2022 edition (subscription required) of the Buffalo News it was reported that Senior Associate Alan Pole was again assisting the Erie I BOCES Board of Education in its effort to hire a new District Superintendent of Schools.  Read the article to find out more about this search (a subscription may be required).


The Greenville Central School District Board of Education announced that it had hired Castallo & Silky LLC to assist it in hiring a new Superintendent of Schools according to a September 24, 2021 story in the Hudson Valley 360 news.  Senior Associate Alan Pole worked with the Board to hire a successor to long-time district employee, Tammy Sutherland.


The Glens Falls Post Star reported in its August 18, 2020 edition that Castallo & Silky LLC has been hired by the Fort Edward UFSD and the South Glens Falls Central School District to conduct a full merger (annexation) study of the two districts.  Castallo & Silky LLC completed a pre-merger study for the districts a couple of years ago (see articles below about this pre-merger study process).  In its September 28, 2020 edition the Post Star outlined the topics to be covered by the consultants in first virtual meeting with a follow-up article on October 2nd with the discussion that took place at the initial joint meeting of the boards. In its November 15th editiion, the Post Star reported on the topics presented and discussed at the initial meeting of the Advisory committee and in an article on November 24th a review of the second meeting was described. Then in the December 26th article the Post Star described the December 18th virtual meeting of the Advisory Committee at which a review of how the space in each of the schools is currently being used and what could happen if a merger were to occur. The Post Star summarized the January 11, 2021 meeting of the Advisory Committee in its article on January 18th and in a related article by News 10 on January 19th..  This meeting summarized the impact on staffing should the merger occur.  On March 3, 2021 the Post Star ran an article that covered the finances of the merger study as presented to the Advisory Committee at its February 22nd meeting and in its March 12th edition students and others weigh in on the merger possibility.  The Post Star informed readers on June 13, 2021 that a final meeting of the Advisory Committee would be held on Monday, June 14th at which time a draft of the final report will be presented.  The Post Star summarized the study's final report meeting in its June 21st article and ABC's local affiliate, New 10 Now did likewise on June 23rd.  Then on August 23, 2021 the Post Star (as did the local ABC affliiate News Channel 10) shared a review of the meeting at which the final report was presented to the boards and summarizes some questions and concerns that were raised about the possible merger. On Thursday, September 23, 2021, the South Glens Falls Board of Education held a meeting in its community to summarize the findings and recommendations of the merger study as reported on New Channel 10 website on September 27th. In early October2021 the South Glens Falls Board of Education voted to put the question of merger to a staw (advisory) vote in its community however the Ft. Edward Board of Education, in a split vote, decided not to put up a referendum thus ending the merger process entirely.


The Schenevus and Worcester Central School Districts considered whether to move forward with a possible merger study of the two districts.  In the October 30,2019 edition of the Otsego County News reported that the districts were continuing the discussion following a presentation made by Castallo & Silky LLC Senior Associate Alan Pole. Then on January 23, 2020 the Daily Star in Oneonta reported on an meeting with consultants Senior Associate Alan Pole and Associate Deb Ayers discussed how a study would be conducted should the districts move forward and on February 26th the Daily Star reported that the Worcester Board voted unanimously to move forward with the merger study.  The Times Journal reported on March 4, 2020 that the Worcester Board voted to move forward with the merger study. Following completion of the study, the Oneonta Daily Star reported on November 18, 2020 that the next step in the process is for the boards of education to decide whether to move forward to the voting phase of the process following a public meeting scheduled for January 19th according to the Daily Star's article on January 5, 2021.. In September 2021 both boards of education voted to hold advisory (straw) votes in each district to see if their communities wanted to take the merger to an official, binding vote. On December 2, 2021 the Daily Star reported that the binding merger vote was passed in Worscester but was soundly defeated in Schenevus.  This ends the merger process for the two districts.


Castallo & Silky LLC Senior Associate Alan Pole and Associate Deb Ayers conducted a review of the St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES-wide Health Insurance Consortium.  In the NNY 360 on-line article dated March 28, 2020 it was noted that they concluded the local component districts should remain in the Consortium. Read the article see the rationale for this recommendation.


The Leader Herald (NOTE: Subscription required to access) in Gloversville reported in its July 20, 2019 edition that Castallo & Silky LLC consultants would be holding their final Greater Johnstown City School District Long-Range Committee meeting in August at which time a recommendation will be made as to the possible closing of a school building will be made.  In a follow-up article on August 6th and one on August 9th, the Leader Herald reported on the outcome of this final meeting.  Also, the Daily Gazette in Schenectady reported on August 9th that Castallo & Silky LLC consultants recommended closing an elementary school as did the Fulton County Express on August 15th.  The Leader Herald on September 21, 2019 reported on the meeting where the Board of Education received the final report.  Then, in its September 26th edition the Leader Herald indicated that the Board had hired two key interim administrators to fill positions until it decides what to do with the recommendations and in its November 12, 2019 edition it is reported the Board held a hearing on the possiblity of closing the Glebe Elementary School as recommended.  In its December 7, 2019 article, the Leader Herald reported that the district Board of Education did vote to close the Glebe School as recommended in the final report by Castallo & Silky LLC and later on February 13, 2020 the Board hired a consultant to appraise the value of Glebe before deciding what to do with the building..  Read the articles to find out what was recommended for Board consideration at the final presentation and who the Board hired to appraise the school.


During the 2017-18, Castallo & Silky LLC associates Jessica Cohen and Alan Pole conducted a facilities study for the Oneida City School District.  Now the Board of Education is conducting a follow-up to the study by implementing the recommendations and Mr. Pole and Dr. Cohen made in their report.  Read about these plans and watch the video of Superintendent Mary Margaret Zehr in this report from News Channel 2 in Utica on December 17, 2018 to see what these plans included.


The Lockport (N.Y.) Union-Sun & Journal reported in its November 17, 2017 article that Castallo & Silky LLC has been hired by the Barker Central School District Board of Education to assist the Board in its efforts to hire a new Superintendent of Schools.  Dr. Roger Klatt retired at the end of thie school year after having served as a shared superintendent for several years.  On April 2, 2018, the Union-Sun & Journal reported that the Board has narrowed its search to three finalists and on April 10th the Buffalo News reported that Jacob Reimer, Assistant Superintendent at Brockport CSD, was appointed by the Board as Barker's new Superintendent.


Castallo & Silky LLC was hired in the fall 2017 to conduct a pre-merger study of the West Valley, Springville-Griffith and Ellicottville school districts.  The purpose of the study is to determine if West Valley and one of the other districts should move forward into a full merger study.  The Castallo & Silky LLC study team will be led by Bill Silky with associates Suzanne Gilmour and Steve Bocciolatt assisting in the effort.  On January 9, 2018, the Salamanca Press reported that financial information had been secured from Ellicottville School District as part of the study process, however in another article from the Olean Times Herald on January 10th, the Ellicottville Board of Education indicated it has declined to participate in the study.  And in the March 14th edition of the paper, among other business of the West Valley Board of Education, it was reported that the draft final report was delivered to the school districts for review.  On June 20th the Olean Times Herald noted that the 2018-19 West Valley school budget was defeated for a second time and the district must now go on a contingent budget and in the same article it was reported that the Pre-Merger Study final report is scheduled to be presented to the Board of Education on Thursday, June 21st.  Later, in both the Olean Times Herald and the Salamanca Press on June 22nd, articles on the final report presentation describe what the West Valley Board at the meeting.  Read all these articles to follow the progress of this study!


The Watertown, N.Y. Daily Times reported in its June 19, 2017 edition that the Massena Central School District had hired Alan Pole and Jessica Cohen (associates at Castallo & Silky LLC) to conduct a study of the district's grade and building configuration.  The article mentions that this study is a follow-up to a 2014 building consolidation study that was completed for the district.  Then it a follow-up article on July 6th, the Daily Times describes an initial meeting with the Massena Board of Education that outlined the study process and formation of a stakeholder Advisory Committee. The North Country Now News on July 7th also indicated the Board was looking for volunteers to serve on the Advisory Committee and in a follow-up article on August 17th the names of the committee members were offered. The Watertown Daily Times, in its September 21, 2017 edition, reported on the first committee meeting at which Jessica Cohen provided enrollment projections for the district while the next day (September 22nd) the paper added more information on the topics discussed at the first meeting.  On November 18th, the Watertown Daily News provided a recap of the first Advisory Committee meeting and in its December 20th edition the Daily Times reported the Advisory Committee was to meet that evening and the focus of the meeting would be on the district's facilities. In the January 14, 2018 issue of the Watertown Daily Times, the paper summarized the thrid meeting of the Advisory Committee. Later, in the April 13, 2018 edition, the Advisory Committee heard an overview of the district's finances as reported in the Watertown Daily Times. Finally, the North Country Now news website on June 21, 2018  and the Watertown Times on June 25th reported that Alan and Jessica had delivered their final report to the Massena Board of Education.  Once the report was presented, the Board of Education is making plans to do a capital project based on the study's recommendations according to the Watertown Daily Times on July 7, 2018.  Finally, in the September 20th edition of the paper it was reported that the Board of Education will be holding a public hearing on the studies recommendations that evening.  Read all these articles to follow the study progress.



The Ft. Edward UFSD (N.Y.) Board of Education has asked Castallo & Silky LLC to discuss possible future options for the district in terms of possibly consolidating the district with another district or perhaps sharing services with other school districts.  The Glens Falls Post-Star reported in its June 13, 2017 edition that a meeting has been arranged with a representative of the consulting firm to discuss a possible study to examine these issues.  The Post-Star several months later (the January 18, 2018 edition) reported that the Ft. Edward Board has decided that it would look for a partnering district to consider doing a pre-merger study and invite Castallo & Silky LLC to conduct the study.  In a follow-up article on January 20th, Linda Goewey, the Superintendent in Hudson Falls indicated if Ft. Edward wants to discuss a pre-merger study with her district, Fr. Edward would have to agree to pay for the cost of the study.  In the final analysis, Hudson Falls decided not to participate in the study because of the fee it would be charged.  Much later however, Ft. Edward was able to get the South Glens Falls Central School District, another contiguous district, to engage in an annexation pre-merger study.  The Glens Falls Post-Star has an aritcle in its December 13th edition about this study and shares the insights of Scott Osborne, Superintendent of Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School District that recently voted to merge with Westpoort.  See what Scott has advised.  And, on the same day (December 13th), the Albany Times Union reported on the study and quotes Dr. Silky about the areas of district operation that will be examined.  Finally, in its July 10, 2019 edition, the Post Star reported that the final pre-merger study report was ready for presentation to the boards of education and the next day's edition tells of this final report presentation and in its editorial on July 16th the Post Star recommended the district consider merger.


The Sun, a newspaper from Northern New York, reported on May 11, 2017 that Bill Silky and Alan Pole of Castallo & Silky LLC had kicked off a merger study of the Elizabethtown-Lewis and Westport Central School districts at a joint meeting of the two school districts' Boards of Education.  The article describes the timeline for the study and the role of the Advisory Committee.  An aritcle in the May 16th Plattsburg Press Republican reported that the Board of Education is appointing an Advisory Committee to work with the consultants and a follow-up article on May 21st outlines what was covered at the initial meeting of the boards.. This full merger study is a follow-up to a pre-merger study involving the two districts and one other area school district that was completed last year.  The Plattsburgh Press Repulbican editorial on June 15th urged people in the districts to not judge the merger until the study has been complete and the plan for a merged district is developed. In a follow-up article on August 15th, the Sun reported that the Advisory Committee was holding its first meeting on August 23rd and a follow-up article on August 30th describes what was covered at this first meeting.  The Plattsburg Press Republican also covered the meeting in its August 30th edition.  The next meeting in September covered and overview of district programs as reported in the Sun on October 3rd.  In an article on November 3rd, The Sun described how the districts would benefit from receipt of additional building aid if they elected to become a single district. In its December 13th issue, the Sun summarized the meeting on transportation that took place a week earlier and so did the Plattsburgh Press-Republican on December 15th.The Plattsburg Press Republican reported in its February 5, 2018 edition on the meeting of the Advisory Committee that covered a comparison of district employee contracts and an article on March 6th reported on the finance meeting the Advisory Committee in late February.  Similarly, an article also appeared in The Sun on March 9th that also covered the financial overview meeting of the committee.  The Plattsburgh Press Republican reported on April 24, 2018 that the two superintendents in the districts had gone on record as supporting the merging of the districts and in its May 2nd article, the paper reported on the final meeting of the Advisory Committee at which it reviewed the draft final report to go the State Education Department.  The paper then reported the individual opinions of the Advisory Committee members that were shared at this last meeting in its May 14th edition.  The Sun article on July 3, 2018 summarized the study findings and recommendations from a presentation by Castallo &Silky LLC associates to a joint session of the school boards. Another article on July 24, 2018 in the Plattsburgh Press Republican, a committee member that had visited another district resulting from a merger reported on his findings.  The Press Republican on September 14th noted that both boards of education have voted to put the merger question out to their respective publics for an advisory (straw) vote on October 9th which passed in both district.  Then an information flurry occurred including a panel discussion of experts hosted by the Sun Times which you can view here.  Finally, on December 4, 2019 both communities voted to merge their two respective districts as reported by the Plattsburgh Press-Republican!


The Olean (NY)Times Herald reported on November 19, 2016 that Alan Pole, senior associate with Castallo & Silky LLC has been hired to assist the local school district's Board of Education in its efforts to hire a new Superintendent of Schools.  The Board President was quoted as saying that Alan was selected from three competing firms and he was chosen due to his strong references. Then in its January 12, 2017 edition, the Times Herald indicated that the retiring Superintendent, Ms. Colleen Taggerty, has agreed to extend her contract to allow the district to have a smooth transition to the new Superintendent.  The Times Herald, on February 24, 2017, reported the results of a stakeholder survey invite participants to share thoughts on desired attributes of the next Superintendent with the Board.  Read what these stakeholders thought was most important. And, on May 9, 2017, the Salamanca Press reported that the Olean School Board appointed Mr. Rick Moore, a former Superintendent in Salamanca but currently Superintendent in Belleville-Henderson Central Schools near Watertown, as its new Superintendent. The paper then reported in its June 2, 2017 edition how the search this time in Olean differed from the previous Superintendent search when Colleen Taggerty was hired.  Finally, on July 12, 2017 the paper describes the contracted salary of the new Superintendent.


On February 11, 2013, the New York State School Boards Association presented Dr. Silky's thoughts on school districts conducting a pre-merger study prior to engaging in a full study.  Dr. Silky's article encourages school boards to follow the lead of four Seneca County districts that invited Castallo & Silky LLC to do a pre-merger study that explored eight possible options and resulted in recommending only three as feasible and deserving of further in-depth study.  



Dr. Silky advises school boards to carefully study some important variables before embarking on a school district merger study.  His caution was printed in the March 3, 2011 edition of the Syracuse (N.Y.) Post-Standard.  Read what Dr. Silky had to say!


The Syracuse.com website posted Dr. Silky's opinion piece on April 17, 2015 regarding who or what to blame (or not blame) for not getting better K-12 student outcomes.  Fed up with using teachers a the single scapegoat, he argues that the problem is much more complex. Take a look and see how he frames this argument.


The Syracuse (NY) Post-Standard's March 4, 2012 edition's lead article discusses recent interest by Central New York school districts in possibly merging with neighboring districts.  Among other experts on school organization, Dr. Silky was asked to comment for this story.  Bill outlines the reasons why districts entertain the concept as well as why it is difficult to achieve.  And, in the March 7th editorial of the Post-Standard he is again quoted as the editorial staff argue that now is the time to consider district merger.  Read what he and others had to say!


Writing in the New York State School Boards' Association's publication, OnBoard (March 2009), Dr. Silky raises the issue if school district merger is the answer to a district's financial woes.  With his extensive experience conducting school reorganization studies, Dr. Silky has a unique experience to offer to any school district considering merging with a neighbor.


The Syracuse Post-Standard, in it's May 20, 2012 edition published a letter to the editor from Dr. Silky regarding the negative impact the new New York State tax cap is having on school district.  He claims that, despite positive recent school district budget votes, schools have had to cut back programs, lay off staff, and take other measures to conform to the tax cap limitations.  In essence, Dr. Silky believes that public education is beginning to gradually crumble and unless the tax cap is repealed, it will change radically in future years.  Then in a more recent (March 3, 2015) follow-up article on Syracuse.com he cites two research studies that describe the long-term negative impact that tax caps have had on the schools in California and Massachusetts.  Read both of these publications by Dr. Silky!