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First public meeting on proposed school district merger in Ilion

By JOLEEN FERRIS

ILION, N.Y. (WKTV) - The first of four public hearings regarding the proposed merger of four Herkimer County School Districts happens Tuesday night in Ilion.

SES Educational Consultants recently completed a year-long study of the merger of the Frankfort-Schuyler, Ilion, Herkimer and Mohawk School districts. Their study suggests putting one pre-k through 4th grade school in each of the four districts; one 5th and 6th grade "upper elementary" 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.

The merger is expected to involve the loss of 28 jobs total from all four districts. However, it is also expected to stop a difficult economy from further chipping away at students' educational offerings.

"Currently, we don't offer business program, we don't offer driver education, we only offer one language. The program that's being offered to today's student is less of a program that was offered to students 20 years ago. So, yes, and we're on that path," says Ilion Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra.

Tangorra isn't prepared to come out for or against the merger quite yet, but says, make no mistake - something must be done.

The first public hearing happens Tuesday, November 15, at 7p.m. at Ilion High School.

The consultants who formulated the study are meeting with Ilion staff prior to that, at 3 p.m.

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