Mohawk and Ilion School Boards hope to move forward with two-school merger plans

By WKTV News

The Mohawk and Ilion Boards of Education plan to officially move forward in an effort to merge the two school districts by July.

The boards met Wednesday night for the first time since the proposed three-school merger was voted down by just under 200 votes in Herkimer. However, it passed overwhelmingly in Ilion and Mohawk, and now both schools hope to join forces sooner than state law would allow.

Ordinarily under state law, the school districts would have to wait a year and one day from the rejection of the merger before they could start discussing a merger again. At Wednesday's meeting, the Mohawk and Ilion School Boards passed a resolution to move forward in an effort to seek special legislation that would allow them to have another merger vote earlier than the law currently allows, said Ilion Business Manager Ken Long. If that special legislation could be obtained, an Ilion-Mohawk merged school district could operating as of July 1, 2013.

Meanwhile, in Herkimer, Interim Superintendent Gary Tutty has asked for residents on both sides of the merger issue to join a advisory committee that could help the Herkimer Central School District move forward with tough decisions that lie ahead as a result of the merger rejection.

The night of the merger vote, Tutty, who was acting as superintendent in the interim, stated he would not be staying on in the position and that the school district would need to begin searching for a new superintendent.

Officials have stated that as a result of the merger rejection, the Herkimer School District will have to begin cutting staff, programs, athletics and more, and/or residents will be facing an increase in taxes. Tutty hopes those in the community from both sides of the issue who have ideas on those decisions will come forward and join the advisory committee.

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