Residents of the Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville Central School District on Tuesday voted in favor of a seven-seat board of education, with members serving three-year terms.
The referendum asked voters to decide how many members should be on the board of education — five, seven or nine — and how long the members should serve per term — three, four or five years.
Results showed 250 voters cast ballots for a seven-member board, 51 voted for a five-member board and 44 voted for a nine-member board. Also, 224 voted in favor of three-year terms, with 73 casting ballots for four-year terms and 36 voting for five-year terms.
Voters will return to the polls on Tuesday, March 19, to elect members to the board of education from a slate of candidates. Petitions for residents interested in running for the board of education will be available beginning Feb. 6. Completed petitions must be filed no later than Feb. 25.
In order to stagger the number of members to be elected each year, candidates elected with the most votes on March 19 will serve the longest initial terms and those elected with the fewest votes will serve the shortest terms. In subsequent votes, elected candidates will serve full three-year terms.
The new school board members will assume authority over the district as soon as they are elected, and will be responsible for selecting a superintendent, negotiating contracts with all bargaining units and finalizing the district’s first budget. Residents will vote on the proposed budget on May 21.
In order to propose a budget within the set time limit, Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery BOCES District Superintendent Dr. Patrick Michel has asked the current school boards and administrators of the formerly separate school districts to create a proposed spending plan for the new board of education.
Michel has also said he will continue to supervise the merger transition process until the new board is established and selects an interim or permanent superintendent.