Ilion and Mohawk school officials received notification last week that state Education Commissioner John King, Jr. had accepted the districts’ merger petitions and had established the official plans for the Feb. 12 vote on whether to merge the two districts.
King previously authorized the use of petitions in lieu of a straw vote to demonstrate community interest in a proposed merger of the districts. The petitions were faxed to the State Education Department last Monday where they were reviewed to ensure they satisfy legal requirements.
The vote will determine whether the two school districts should merge and, if they do merge, how the merged district’s board of education should be configured. Voting will take place from noon to 8 p.m., with polls open in each school district. Polling will be conducted with the use voting machines and absentee ballots are available at the central office of each school district.
King last week also designated Herkimer BOCES District Superintendent Mark Vivacqua as the person in charge of the operation of the vote and appointed a 22-member board of canvass.
The board will act as a board of elections at the central voting site at Ilion Junior - Senior High School and its members are residents from both school communities. Members include Michael Aceto, Tim Brien, Ronald Bunce, Cassie Castle, Joe Cirillo, Francis Crandall, Tim Day, Raymond Egland, Kathy Eysaman, Erin Ferlo, Jack Fitzer, Robert Gassmann, Kevin Joyce, Sara Lawrence, William Lennox, Sonja Levi, Kelly Long, Arnold Millar, Joanne Moore, Jennifer Mower, Joan Prymas and Michael Zaccaria.
For the vote at Jarvis Junior - Senior High School in Mohawk, the members of the Mohawk Central School Board of Education will perform the duties of a board of elections, which include inspecting the voting machines and poll books before voting begins and supervising the conduct of the vote.
After the polls are closed at each site, the chairperson of the board of elections at Mohawk will deliver the sealed voting machine results and sealed poll books to the board of canvass in Ilion.
The board of canvass will then canvass the vote on Proposition No. 1, which is the vote on whether the two school districts should merge. The results for each district will be canvassed separately, including absentee ballots. If Proposition No. 1 is approved by both districts, the results from Propositions No. 2 and 3 from each district will be intermingled and counted in aggregate, including absentee ballots. Propositions No. 2 and 3 would only go into effect if Proposition No. 1 is approved.
Proposition No. 2 asks voters to decide whether the new school district would have five, seven or nine board of education members. Proposition No. 3 asks voters to decide whether the board of education members’ terms would be for three, four or five years. After the results for the propositions are determined, the board of canvass will certify the results to King.
Page 2 of 2 - Should voters approve the merger on Feb. 12, an election of board of education members would take place March 27. The new school district would begin operation on July 1.