A document signed and sealed by the commissioner of the state Education Department may cause some confusion for residents, according to interim Mohawk Central School Superintendent Gene Beirne.
Beirne said on Monday he received a copy of an order that was signed and sealed by Commissioner John B. King that states, “the territory comprising the Herkimer Central School District, ... the Ilion Central School District ... and the Mohawk Central School District ... is hereby laid out as a central school district and designated as the Herkimer - Ilion - Mohawk Central School District.”
“People are reading the declaration, signed by the commissioner, in the matter of laying out a central school district, and names it a district, and the reaction we’ve had so far from people is, ‘Is this saying it’s a done deal?’ That is not the case,” said Beirne, during a telephone interview.
The document must be posted in public places for the community to view. Information on the document shows it was signed and sealed by the commissioner on Sept. 21.
According to interim Herkimer Central School Superintendent Gary Tutty, the document shows the commissioner “has gotten a written understanding the three school districts voted ‘yes’ on the straw vote and now he has to get permission for the binding vote.”
To get permission, petitions have been distributed within the communities — one for each school district and one for all three districts combined. Officials said 100 signatures are needed to go ahead with the scheduled binding referendum.
Tutty noted he had not yet received any calls about concern the districts had already merged.
Voters in the Herkimer, Ilion and Mohawk school districts participated in a straw vote in their respective districts as to whether they should merge. The results were 1,160 for the merger in Herkimer and 839 against; 1,274 for the merger in Ilion and 589 against and 930 in Mohawk and 415 against. Since all three school districts approved of the advisory referendum, a binding referendum will take place on Oct. 18. Residents of all three school districts will need to vote in favor of the referendum for the merger to be approved.