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Residents get out and vote in Mohawk

By LEXIE O'CONNOR

MOHAWK, N.Y. (WKTV) - Residents filled Mohawk's Jarvis Jr-Sr High School Thursday for the proposed Herkimer County school merger straw vote.

Many residents said they were voting for the merger of Mohawk, Herkimer, Frankfort-Schuyler, and Ilion school districts for the opportunities it would bring to students.

"I think its a good idea and I do think it'll afford our kids a little more opportunity," says Frank Getman. "I graduated from Herkimer. It's a good system. Mohawk's a good system. My kids graduated from here, so I think its a good idea."

The proposed four district merger could bring millions of dollars in incentive aid, but not all voters are convinced the change is worth it.

"I can't see where they're solving any problems," says voter Bob Gushue. "They're gonna' have to do a lot more bussing, so I can't see where they're saving any money."

Without the merger, Mohawk Central Schools is set to receive roughly $6 million in state aid, only slightly more than last year and money that Superintendent Joyce Caputo says isn't enough.

"When we analyzed this, what we found out is - there is exactly $70,000 we will be receiving as additional aid to Mohawk," says Caputo. "But it's almost too little."

Caputo says with the little state money, the school board will have to look into cutting non-mandated programs, a fear convincing many residents to vote for the merger, feeling its benefits outweigh the costs.

"While I like the idea of a small private school district, it's impractical for the district to sustain itself," says Paul Anstine who's son just started Pre-K in Mohawk. "The commute is what it is. The kids will get used to it, and I honestly don't think, judging by what's set up with class splitting, I don't think its going to be a big deal overall."

The polls close Thursday at 8 p.m. in all four school districts, residents don't have to be registered voters to vote.

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