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History of Virgil School

The Virgil Central School began operation in 1930-1931. It was the combination of eight Common School Districts and one Union Free School District in the towns of Virgil, Harford, Cortlandville, and Lapeer. Laters, two common schools were annexed to include some of Dryden and more of Cortlandville.  

In 1955, New York State’s Heald Commission  made a recommendation that the legislature take immediate steps to combine small-area and small-enrollment districts. This led to the revision of New York’s Revised Master Plan (1958) which suggested that most of the Virgil Central School (technically titled Virgil School District No. 2) be combined with Dryden. The Master Plan had identified an absolute minimum of 600 students for a school district's enrollment, with a desired minimum of 1200 pupils. Virgil did not meet this threshold.

In 1962, in accordance with New York’s Master Plan, the Virgil Board of Education entered into talks with the Dryden School District to combine. These discussions occurred at the same time that Dryden was growing and considering construction in order to gain more space. These talks continued with little progress, and, in the spring of 1963 the Virgil Board turned toward Cortland to explore joining with that school district.

Many benefits were seen to joining with Cortland. Some being that students would get more extracurricular opportunities and more course offerings.  The Virgil economy at the time was more closely tied to Cortland than Dryden as well.

The City School District of the City of Cortland began operation as the Enlarged City School District in 1956, some years after the fact that a school district in Cortlandville was annexed to the City of Cortland in 1950.

On March 22nd 1965, 450 Virgil residents went to the polls and voted. 263 voted in favor of merging with Cortland, and 184 voted against the measure. The officially date the merger took place was on July 1, 1965. At that point the Virgil K-6 students would stay at the Virgil Elementary School and 125 Virgil students would join the Cortland Senior High School, and 80 would attend the Cortland Junior High School. Once the merger became official, Virgil residents were allowed to run for the Cortland school board and the Virgil School Board dissolved.


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