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Opinions divided with school merger vote two days away

By LEXIE O'CONNOR

HERKIMER, N.Y. (WKTV) - With the Herkimer County School Merger vote just two days away Tuesday, the divide is being seen throughout communities, on lawns, even in diners. On Thursday Herkimer, Mohawk and Ilion residents will decide whether or not the 3 separate school districts will combine to one.

At 3:30 in the afternoon Tuesday there were just two parties dining inside the Empire Diner. While both enjoying a meal, both were divided when it comes to the school merger vote.

"More opportunities for the children, from what I've heard there's more things offered as far as academics, the curriculum," said Mike Paestella who is for the school merger. "I think its good for the future of our school and kids."

Mike Paestella and his wife's kids may have graduated and moved on from Herkimer's schools, but the couple says without a question they're voting Thursday for the school merger.

Just a few tables away, Alex Dorantes disagreed, upset that Herkimer will lose their high school and instead host the 7th and 8th graders if the merger is approved.

"If the merger goes through Herkimer loses the high school and the property values go down," said Alex Dorantes who is against the merger. "They say some of the taxes will go down, well for how long?"

The final and binding vote on the school merger will take place Thursday October 18th. Polls will be open from noon to 8 pm.

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