Frankfort-Schuyler voters stop merger plan despite other districts showing support

By ANDREW DONOVAN

HERKIMER COUNTY, N.Y. (WKTV) - Frankfort-Schuyler voters overwhelmingly rejected the proposed merger plan in Herkimer County, stopping the plan from moving forward.

Voters in Herkimer, Frankfort-Schuyler, Mohawk and Ilion all went to the polls to decide if the merger should take place between the four schools. The other three districts all supported the plan, but the vote had to be unanimous.

7,188 voters went to the polls in the straw vote, many more people than a regular school budget vote.

This was only a straw vote, used to determine the level of interest. Had this been passed, a binding vote would have taken place in February.

Now, all four school districts will continue to operate independently. The superintendents will work to prepare their school budgets for the 2012-2013 school year, up for vote per usual in May.

Herkimer Schools Interim Superintendent Gary Tutty says because of the amount of support for the merger, the issue should come up for a vote again in the future. He said, "If people really want this to happen, it's something we should consider."

The three districts that voted in favor of merging can revisit the issue a year from now if they choose to.

Tutty says he and the school board will get together Friday morning and talk about where the district will go from here. He said, "what we'll do is, we'll immediately get together and talk about what our next steps are going to be. One thing we can talk about is certainly our budget for next year. We have to start preparing that."

As far as whether Tutty thought there would be a district that might vote no, he said, he had no idea how the votes would go. He said, "I didn't, I didn't have a feel for any of the districts. I really didn't know. I thought that each district did a good job of trying to present the facts and I really didn't know."

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