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Voters prepare to head to the polls for binding school merger vote

By HILARY LANE

HERKIMER COUNTY, N.Y. (WKTV) - Despite a petition by opponents to try and halt Thursday's school merger vote, the State Education Commissioner said the polls will open in Herkimer County.

The man who filed that petition, Dan Monahan, said that despite the vote going forward, he waits for the Education Commissioner's ruling on accusations that some school officials urged people to vote yes.

Thursday, residents in Herkimer County will vote on a proposal to combine the Ilion, Mohawk, and Herkimer school districts into one.

Herkimer County BOCES Superintendent Mark Vivacqua says that voters won't notice much of a difference from the straw vote in September. He says residents will go in, sign their name in the poll book, then pull a lever.

However, instead of the districts running the vote, the state is in charge. There will be a representative at each site, making sure all runs smoothly.

Instead of the votes being counted at each district site, they will all be brought to Ilion where the results will be tallied and announced Thursday night.

"This, right here, is kind of (like) a disagreement in the family," said Vivacqua. "Whether tomorrow the vote is up or down, we will need some healing time and then the family is going to come back to together for the good of the children."

If the vote passes, then the new combined school district will be formed for the next school year.

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