Wednesday, October 1, 2014

News
Voters head to polls for proposed Ilion-Mohawk school merger
By LEXIE O'CONNOR and HILARY LANE


Starting at Noon on Tuesday, residents in the Mohawk and Ilion School Districts went to the polls to decide whether or not the two schools should merge.

In both districts, the polls were busy from the very start with some people wanting to keep things the way they are and others saying that the $42 million in incentive aid that would come with a merger is desperately needed.

"I hear the kids talk about the fact that they're in three study halls a day and haven't got AP programs and don't have some of the college-ready courses," said Kevin Wren who said he voted 'yes.' "And I'm a college grad my self and I feel like we have to prepare them the best we can."

"I think it's a short term solution," said Cindy Young who said she voted 'no.' "I don't think it's going to be anything that's going to...I don't think it's going to be a long term solution and help later on. I think it's just a just a way to get the grant."

People against the merger like Cindy Young there said they'd like their kids to stay in the same school they started in and not have to move to Ilion, which would host the combined district high school if the merger passes.

School officials said they expected the post-5 p.m. part of the evening to be the busiest of the day, because many people would be stopping in after work.

Like in Mohawk, some were for the merger and some were against. Those against said they graduated from Ilion High School, as did their parents, and feared a merged district would mean the school would lose its identity.

Others in Ilion who voted 'yes,' called the decision a 'no-brainer,' saying that the millions of dollars in incentive aid would help to improve curriculum and extracurricular activities.

"It is essential for our children's future and our community to bring better businesses in, to get better families who will give back to the community and kids aren't leaving high school being prepared the way they should be," said Pattie Day, of Ilion, who said she voted 'yes.'

"This is the third time they have asked us to do it," said Charlie Sullivan, who said he voted 'no.' "I think they would start getting the message a little bit. Who is next West Winfield? Richfield Springs? Who?"

If you plan on voting, there are three propositions to decide upon.

The first is if the schools should merge

The second is how many members should be on the new board of education.

Third and last is how long the terms of those on a new board of education should be.

If the merger vote does not pass, those last two propositions will not be counted and if the vote does go through, the new combined school district will be formed in July.

Polls close at 8 p.m.