Year-long Herkimer County School merger study complete


HERKIMER COUNTY, N.Y. (WKTV) - The study is done and the conclusions drawn. Now, the discourse can begin on whether or not to merge the Frankfort-Schuyler, Ilion, Mohawk and Herkimer School Districts.

Next year, parent Sara Herringshaw will have three kids in elementary school.

"Right now I'm leaning towrd the merger because I think it's going to provide my children with a better education and at this time I'm hearing there's going to be a lot more cuts down the road if we don't vote for the merger so at this point I'm going to wait and go to the meeting," says Herringshaw.

SES Educational Consultants recently completed a year-long study about the benefits and challenges of merging the four Herkimer County school districts. Their suggestion is to put one Pre-K through 4th grade building in each of the four districts; one 5th and 6th grade "upper elementary" school in the current Herkimer High School building; a middle school in the current Frankfort-Schuyler High School building and one high school in the current Ilion High School Building.

"I just feel they're trying to make a bigger portion on a smaller plate," says Joseph Mordarski, who has three children in Herkimer and three children in Ilion schools and wants to keep it that way. Mordarski feels that kids would fall through the cracks in a giant district.

"Instead of actually sitting down with a student who has troubles, they're just 'well, we're going to push him through to the next year and give him more help, we're going to push him through to the next year and give him more help," says Mordarski.

Sara Sperl feels that, in this case, bigger is better.

" I think that the benefits of having more classes available, more access to resources is much more important to me than maintaining the smaller school district," says Sperl.

The proposed merger has a long way to go before becoming a reality. Three of the four school districts' Boards of Education have to approve it in order for it to go forward. Then, an informal straw poll among voters in the approving districts. If approved, it goes to the NYS Education Department and then back to local voters for formal approval through referendum. There will be four public hearings in the coming weeks.

Public Hearing Sessions:
Nov. 15 - Ilion High School (7:00 p.m.)
Nov. 21 - Herkimer High School (7:00 p.m.)
Nov. 28 - Mohawk High School (7:00 p.m.)
Nov. 30 - Frankfort-Schuyler High School (7:00 p.m.)

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