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The Telegram
  • Next up in Ilion and Mohawk: Picking board of education

  • Now that Ilion and Mohawk school district residents have the merger vote behind them, they can start preparing for the next vote — who will be on the school board.

    The election for the seven members is March 27, and petitions must be submitted by March 11.

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  • Now that Ilion and Mohawk school district residents have the merger vote behind them, they can start preparing for the next vote — who will be on the school board.
    The election for the seven members is March 27, and petitions must be submitted by March 11.
    Mark Vivacqua, Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES district superintendent and the person to oversee the new district until a new superintendent is hired, said while a transition plan has been outlined and tentative dates have been set, the schools must wait for the state education commissioner’s go-ahead. State Department of Education officials said specifics of the election are being prepared by Commissioner John King, Jr.
    “Sometime next week we’ll be getting the commissioner’s orders to elect board members,” Vivacqua said, adding he intends to hold a board of education meeting the day after the election.
    In the meantime, Vivacqua said the school districts are trying to get things in order for the merger.
    “The idea is to get a head start, even before the board election,” he said. “It’s all about time. There’s a lot to do, but from my perspective, none of it should be all that difficult.”
    Among other things that need to be done:
    • Hire a superintendent.
    • Develop a budget for the new district.
    • Assign faculty and staff to new locations.
    • Develop sports and curriculum to be offered.
    • Move equipment to appropriate locations.
    Ilion and Mohawk school district residents Tuesday approved the merger 2,092 to 867.
    The merged district will gain $42.2 million in state aid over 14 years. The first five years the district will receive about $4.4 million a year, according to the merger study. In the sixth year, it will receive about $4 million, continuing to decrease about 4 percent each year thereafter.
    Ilion Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra, Jr. said it is important to begin working on the schedules for next year. “We’re sending out a questionnaire for all employees to get a feel on where they may want to be,” he said in regard to faculty assigned to different grades and subjects.
    Tangorra said the goal is to have the assignments out by May 15.
    Student visitations to the new schools will need to be arranged as well, he said.
    “All that planning has to take place, all these things really have to occur before the end of the school year,” he said. “This requires a lot of work, but we get paid to do a lot of work.”
    The transition plan — which will reach out to students, community members and faculty from both districts — calls for planning groups to be formed to work on various topics.
    “Everything from finance and transportation, all the way to picking a mascot,” Vivacqua said.
    Page 2 of 2 - Students will be selected for various groups, including athletics, cafeteria and programs and curriculum.
    “They really need to feel that they are part of this new district,” Tangorra said.
    Ramona Gassmann, whose daughter Carly attends Gregory B. Jarvis Junior-Senior High School, said the two of them have reached out to Mohawk’s Interim Superintendent Gene Beirne to express interest in getting involved in the groups. “I think it’s important for Carly to be involved because she’s gaining a lot of skills just going through the process of being a part of this, just by having her voice be heard and listening to other opinions,” she said, adding they’d like to be involved in either the clubs and extracurricular activities group or the school identity group.
    Tangorra said those interested in being part of a group can contact either school district for more information.
    “When school starts in September, the first day of school will be like the first day of school every year,” Tangorra said.

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