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The Times
  • Ilion - Mohawk merger vote is Feb. 12

  • Voters in the Ilion and Mohawk school districts will go to the polls Tuesday to determine whether or not to approve a plan to merge the two districts. Voting will be from noon to 8 p.m. at the high schools in Ilion and Mohawk. The first item on the ballot will be a statutory referendum, or binding vote,...
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  • Voters in the Ilion and Mohawk school districts will go to the polls Tuesday to determine whether or not to approve a plan to merge the two districts.
    Voting will be from noon to 8 p.m. at the high schools in Ilion and Mohawk.
    The first item on the ballot will be a statutory referendum, or binding vote, asking if Mohawk and Ilion should join together as one centralized school district. The results of the merger question will be tabulated separately and the merger will pass only if both communities approve.
    Area residents may access the merger study on either the Mohawk or Ilion school district websites.
    A draft transition plan outlining the next steps to be taken if the merger passes is also available on the websites.
    Voters will also consider two additional propositions defining the make-up of the board of education — five, seven or nine members — and length of terms for school board members should the merger proposal be approved. There will be a choice of three-, four- or five-year terms for board members.
    By law, all voters must be U.S. citizens, age 18 or older and residents of the district for at least 30 days prior to the vote. Advance registration is not required.
    State Education Commissioner John King, Jr. established the official plans for the vote last month and appointed a 22-member board of canvass made up of residents from the school districts.
    Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES District Superintendent Mark Vivacqua has been designated as the person in charge of the operation of the election.
    The board of canvass will act as a board of elections at the central voting site at Ilion Junior - Senior High School, according to a news release from BOCES. For the special election district site at Mohawk, the Mohawk Board of Education will perform the duties of a board of elections.
    These boards of elections will inspect the voting machines and poll books before voting begins and supervise the conduct of the voting — including acceptance of challenges at each voting site.
    After the polls are closed at each site, the chairman of the board of elections at Mohawk will deliver the sealed voting machine results and sealed poll books to the board of canvass in Ilion.
    The board of canvass will then canvass the vote on Proposition No. 1, which is the vote on whether the two school districts should merge. The results for each district will be canvassed separately, including absentee ballots.
    If Proposition No. 1 is approved by both districts, the results from Propositions No. 2 and 3 from each district will be intermingled and counted in aggregate, including absentee ballots.
    The Ilion and Mohawk school boards began discussing their options after Herkimer voters rejected a three-school merger proposal by fewer than 200 votes in October 2012, while Mohawk and Ilion voters approved the plan by substantial margins.
    Page 2 of 2 - The Herkimer, Ilion and Mohawk boards of education passed separate resolutions in December 2012 calling on King to rescind the order that laid out a central school district designated as the Herkimer-Ilion-Mohawk Central School District. The commissioner rescinded the order Dec. 14 and scheduled today’s vote. Without King’s action to rescind the order, another vote on a three-district merger could have been conducted a year and a day after the initial vote.
    The original merger plan in August 2009 involved only the Ilion and Mohawk school districts, but soon afterward, Frankfort-Schuyler and Herkimer were added to the study. Frankfort-Schuyler voters rejected a four-school merger in an advisory vote on Jan. 19 last year and Herkimer voters rejected a three-school merger in an Oct. 18 binding vote.
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