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Opinions still divided with approaching Ilion-Mohawk School Merger Vote

By LEXIE O'CONNOR

MOHAWK, N.Y. (WKTV) - The first of two public forums on merging the Ilion and Mohawk School Districts was held Tuesday in Mohawk's Jarvis Auditorium. Despite the majority of residents in both districts voting in favor of a three or four district merger in the past, opinions were still divided.

"It's definitely different than the three school and four school but it still needs to happen, these kids are sitting through too many study halls, they are going to college not prepared," said Sara Lawrence of Mohawk who has been to multiple merger meetings.

She feels a merger is needed to offer more programs to the students, however still fears not everyone's on board.

Many residents feel there's still too many "what if's" and that an estimated $42 million in incentive aid a merger would bring isn't worth the change.

"My kids a senior next year, he's going to come into a new school if we merge into Ilion when he goes to Mohawk now, it's going to be all new to him," said Tim Rathbun of Mohawk. "(He's) going to have all new transitions to take place, it's going to be hard."

The reconfigured district would place an elementary school Pre- K through 4th Grade in each district, a middle school 5th though 8th grade at Mohawk's Jarvis Junior- Senior High School and 9th through 12th grade at Ilion High School.

The plan brings significantly fewer students into one district compared to what was proposed with a three or four district merger, but is still bringing unease to both sides with another approaching vote.

"I don't know, I'm nervous," said Jessica Westbrook of Ilion who is for the merger. "We're leaving early, it's just starting to get they're fighting and more of a personal thing I think they're forgetting the real reason why we're doing this."

The next and final public information meeting on merging the Mohawk and Ilion School Districts will be held Thursday January 31st at 6 pm. at Ilion High School.

There will be no straw vote for the two district merger just one final, binding vote that will be on Tuesday February 12th. The polls are open from noon to 8 pm. Residents must vote in their home districts.

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