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Le Roy Central School

February 16, 2023 - 8:05am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, Sports, Le Roy Central School, merger.


Le Roy families got word this week that either solidified their hopes of remaining the Oatkan Knights football team or dashed visions of becoming a merged super team of three school districts.

Le Roy Superintendent Merritt Holly sent a letter home Wednesday to student athletes and families revealing the final decision about pursuing a football program merger with Cal-Mum/Byron-Bergen.

After outlining the actions taken thus far, including a meeting with all concerned and taking feedback and questions from students and family members, Holly provided the answer that apparently most wanted to hear.

“After reviewing enrollment data, projected roster numbers, the rationale for combined teams, and student-athlete/parent feedback, the Le Roy Central School District Board of Education has decided to not merge for the upcoming 2023 Fall Football Season with Caledonia-Mumford and Byron-Bergen Central Schools,” he said. “There will not be a vote to merge at the board meeting on February 28, 2023.”

He thanked the district community — board members, coaches, students, parents — for being open and willing to listen to reasons for considering a merger.

“On rare occasions, we see schools merge to help grow existing programs,” he said. “A merger to grow existing programs becomes a hard sell to student-athletes and parents because the outcome is unpredictable. Change is not easy and giving up traditions can be even harder.”

There are many questions that arise with such a proposition, he said, and students weren’t short on them. They asked about playing time, why a merger when they already had three levels, what happens to senior night and homecoming, who will be coaching, to name a few.

The mission of the Le Roy Central School District is to provide an exceptional, high quality educational environment where all learners are empowered to succeed, Holly said. 

Reasons for a potential merger included filling the roster and avoiding injuries by overplaying and over practicing student athletes. The rationale now for not merging after taking all feedback and research into consideration is:

  1. With the projected roster numbers for the Fall 2023 Season, Le Roy CSD can run three levels of 11-man football (modified, JV, and varsity). With that being said, we feel that a merger, as outlined in the Section V Combined Teams Application, does not meet the current rationale/criteria for Le Roy CSD. 
  2. The current merger model in regards to percentages for Classes C (40%) and D (30%) sunsets next year. With no committee recommendation or decision yet from NYSPHSAA on what model may be adopted, it makes sense to wait for this decision to better understand the placement (classification) of merged schools in the future. 
  3. ​The feedback from Le Roy student-athletes and parents was overwhelming against a merger. 

“The Le Roy Central School District would like to thank Caledonia-Mumford and Byron- Bergen Central Schools for their willingness to engage in a meaningful discussion on a potential football merger,” he said. 

File Photo of Le Roy Knights during a winning game.

February 1, 2023 - 8:57pm
posted by Joanne Beck in news, Le Roy Central School, football, Sports.


Le Roy Superintendent Merritt Holly asked students and parents to consider a few things during his talk this week about a potential merger of the district’s football program.

First, he didn’t want their immediate feedback, but, rather, he wanted the stats and details he was to provide to marinate for a while before they shared their comments and concerns. The deadline for feedback is Feb. 13.

Second, a merger doesn’t signal a “superpower” team of those earlier days of the game, he said. It’s not Le Roy football in the 1980s, 90s and early to mid-2000s, when enrollment numbers and participation were of a different nature, he said, and “the game of football” has drastically changed over the past 45 years.”

That isn’t what this proposition is about.

“This is about long-term sustainability in the sport of football,” he said.

Third, what is a potential merger with Cal-Mum/Byron-Bergen about?

There’s a rationale — the method behind the madness, so to speak — for considering a merger, Holly said. One issue is the safety factor: Eighth and tenth graders wouldn’t have to play to fill rosters of the junior and varsity levels, and students wouldn't be required to be on the field more than necessary.

“Imagine if we could have some balance in practice and playtime,” he said.

Student-athletes wouldn’t be overplayed, which would reduce the risk of injuries, he said, during times of, for example, athletes playing both sides of the ball.

“You have to be very careful,” he said. “You have to worry more about injuries in practice. When it comes to accountability, when you have no one else in that position to play, it becomes an issue.”

A merger could mean sustainability. A roster would be maintained at three levels, modified, JV and Varsity, with a continuous foundation of youth programs being built. Plus, the other two school districts “have a need and want to be part of this relationship and one (B-B swim team) we have already partnered with,” he said.

Not to be left out of the equation was perhaps Holly’s biggest influential statistic: a decreased enrollment of more than 500 students in 2022-2023 from 1987 figures. He called it a “staggering” slide, though also later noted that numbers seemed to be slightly on the uptick. He did so with caution.

“We could end the presentation right now and say the numbers are coming back, but there’s more,” he said.

Much of the issue was about future roster sizes, the safety of students and the ability to be competitive.

“Sometimes we’re doing our students a disservice,” Holly said. “Sports is one of the best ways to have healthy competition.”

Other districts may decide to merge at some point, and this could be Le Roy’s moment to do so, but it’s up to the school community to decide, he said. Feedback is due by Feb. 13, and the school board is to vote on Feb. 28.

If it’s yes for the merger, that would mean splitting home games, operating costs amongst the school districts, sharing homecoming and senior nights at the home game district, each district paying its own insurance costs, uniforms purchased from a stockpile, and other details to be worked out, he said.

“We’d be looking at a whole new process,” he said. “There’d be a three-year commitment with a 30-day opt-out clause.”

If the merger is a no, Le Roy moves forward with a football program.

“We need to get feedback from you. This is just an initial conversation,” Holly said.

To view the entire presentation, go HERE.

2022 File Photo of Le Roy Oatkan Knights versus Attica by Howard Owens.

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