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Official: With school merger voted down, taxes will go up or massive school cuts will be made

By JOLEEN FERRIS

HERKIMER COUNTY, N.Y. (WKTV) - On Thursday night, voters in Herkimer County Thursday night defeated a proposal to merge the Herkimer, Ilion and Mohawk School Districts.

It was voters in Herkimer who defeated the proposal, by fewer than 200 votes. Voters in Ilion and Mohawk overwhelmingly passed the proposal. And it's the leaders of those two school districts who want to push ahead with a merger between the two of them.

"We want to move forward quickly so that the communities of Ilion and Mohawk will be able to have a new school district by July 1st of 2013. I don't see any reason why it can't happen," says Ilion School Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra.

Tangorra says the two districts wouldn't exactly be starting over in terms of finding a configuration for just the two of them.

"In anticipation that something like this could happen for quite sometime i've looked at 'what would the configuration look like with just Ilion and Mohawk? What would the building configurations look like? What would the aid situation look like? So, i have lot of that work already completed so there wouldn't be much more to do," says Tangorra.

BOCES District Superintendent Mark Vivacqua discusses less appealing realities in the absence of a merger

"These are huge, gaping holes so either taxes are going to go up considerably and people are going to agree to that or there's going to be massive cuts," Vivacqua said. "That much is clear."

The Mohawk and Ilion Boards of Education plan to meet as early as next week regarding the possibility of merging their two districts. They've also reached out to state lawmakers about introducing the legislation that would allow them to vote on a merger between their two districts sooner than the year and a day minimum set forth by law.

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