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The Telegram
  • Herkimer school board prepares for merger vote

  • The Herkimer Board of Education discussed procedures and issues involved with the upcoming three district merger vote — currently scheduled for next week — and voted on the revised list of workers for the vote during its regular board meeting on Wednesday. The school board unanimously approved of the ...
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  • The Herkimer Board of Education discussed procedures and issues involved with the upcoming three district merger vote — currently scheduled for next week — and voted on the revised list of workers for the vote during its regular board meeting on Wednesday.
    The school board unanimously approved of the revised list of election workers and inspectors for the merger vote between the Herkimer, Ilion and Mohawk school districts, scheduled for Oct. 18.
    Interim Superintendent Gary Tutty said the list needed to be revised because of the state Education Department’s rules on “who can and can’t be on the list.”
    Tutty said on Thursday one of the individuals originally on the list needed to be designated as the chief inspector for the vote. Another individual could not be on the list because they are also on the board of canvass, he said. Tutty also said Herkimer School District Clerk Sharon Judd was also on the list, but she needed to be taken off, so she will only handle her clerk duties.
    Tutty also said Herkimer Board of Education President John Cipriano was appointed as chairman of the district’s merger vote meeting.
    In total, ten workers and one alternate were approved to work the election.
    Tutty also clarified earlier reports regarding the voting machines.
    “We are not using electronic machines. It’s not mandated in all three districts,” he said.
    Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES District Superintendent Mark Vivacqua has been designated as in charge of the operation of the election. The 27-member board of canvass is comprised of nine residents from each school district. A complete list of the board members can be found online at www.herkimer-boces.org.
    “It’s a much different process than a regular vote,” said Tutty.
    For example, voting occurred in each district and the results were reported at each site during the advisory referendum — or straw vote — in September. “Once the tally is in [for the binding vote], all the announcements will be done in one location,” said Tutty.
    Also, the absentee ballots will be opened and counted after the polls close at 8 p.m.
    “It will be a very long night Thursday,” said Cipriano.
    Also during the meeting, Tutty talked about preparations behind a mock budget for the 2013 - 2014 school year.
    “We started to work on this, but because of the timing of the merger vote, I didn’t think it was right to present it,” said Tutty, noting this is normally the time of year a mock budget is presented to the school board. “Because we feel we have so much evidence to one side of the issue, we don’t want to be accused of scaring people into a decision. It shows what, I think, will be dire consequences. But I want to wait. I want it to be fair,” he said.
    Page 2 of 2 - Tutty continued, “It’s so important that people vote ... We are Herkimer. We are one. No matter what happens.”
    School officials have cleared the paperwork with the state Education Department to go ahead with the school merger vote. On Thursday, however, a group of people opposed to the merger filed petitions with the state Education Department to stop the vote from happening.
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