Polls open to select board members for newly merged district


ILION, N.Y. (WKTV) - Residents in the villages of Ilion and Mohawk went to polls in droves on Wednesday to decide who will sit on the Board of Education for the newly merged school district.

There are 21 candidates vying for 7 seats on the new school board, a board that will ultimately make the decisions for the new merged district.

"It's so important for us to support our school system, our new system and the two schools merging together and all the students," said Sharon Palmer of Mohawk. "And it's just important we take an interest in what happens in the future."

"Well, I mean, we took so long trying to decide if we wanted to have this merger, we want to make sure we have the right people," said Tim Lawrence, a teacher in Mohawk,

Lawrence says when it comes to the new board, he's looking for candidates involved in both the communities and are ready to now bring them together.

"There's going to be a lot to discuss, with everything from how the school's going to look and represent itself to what's going to be offered," he said. "One of the big things we talked about in the merger plan is what classes, and what the curriculum is going to look like."

Another topic on the minds of voters is how to best manage $42 million in incentive aid. Many residents say they're choosing candidates not only with education experience but a business background as well.

Many voters said aside from reading candidate profiles, social media played a large role in their decision.

"I know a lot of candidates had Facebook pages, social media, sharing things on their Facebook pages, answering questions," said Molly Bonnel, a former Citizen Advisory Committee Member. "There's been a few who have been good at that throughout the whole process and I think that their names will stand out."

Some said they even brought notes to help them in their voting process.

Lynne Brown of Ilion said with 21 individuals running, it's not the same as coming in and knowing exactly which one person you're voting for.

"I want to make sure I'm meticulous like that, so I made sure I went through the list alphabetically, each one and did the same thing for my husband so he could go in, wouldn't have to think about, wouldn't make any mistakes."

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