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Final School Merger Meeting held at HCCC

By LEXIE O'CONNOR

HERKIMER, N.Y. (WKTV) - The fourth and final community forum on a proposed three district merger in the Mohawk Valley was held Wednesday at Herkimer County Community College (HCCC). The meeting, by law, the last the Herkimer, Mohawk and Ilion school districts can hold before the straw vote on September 12th.

Of the almost 100 residents that filled HCCC's theater, many were first time attendees, taking advantage of a final chance to hear a presentation on the proposed school merger.

"I think it's still a good idea but I think that more people should probably get the correct information because I think there's a lot of misinformation out there," said Mathew Burks who has 2 children attending the Mohawk School District. "A lot of people are talking about this too so I'd like to have the right answers."

The meeting clarified rumors some residents had heard and strengthened decisions already made for others.

"This just kind of reinforced that we do need to merge because the kids aren't getting the opportunities that they need," said Richard Mikus of Mohawk. "Their programs are getting cut by the districts now and for the kids to have a good education and everything they need ... we need to merge."

Ilion, Mohawk and Herkimer's superintendents clearly stating the reality of the three districts' situations - either merge or cut.

"If the state, does not change what they're doing now we will just have to cut more and more until we get to the point where we won't have any other options," said Herkimer superintendent Gary Tutty. "We already are at a disadvantage to our students because of the cuts we've had already and if these continue and I think if we don't merge, we're just going to face the fact that we can't deliver what our kids need in this competitive society."

While the three superintendents can not hold any more meetings on the school merger proposal, they will be able to answer residents questions up until the vote. They encourage everyone to call their school district office with questions.

Ilion School District: (315) 894-9934
Mohawk School District: (315) 866-2620
Herkimer School District: (315) 866-2230

The Advisory Referendum (straw vote) is scheduled for September 12th, followed by a Statutory Referendum October 18th.

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