The newly elected Ilion-Mohawk Board of Education conducted its first meeting Thursday evening at Gregory B. Jarvis High School in Mohawk.
During the organizational meeting Stephen Coupe was unanimously elected board president. Coupe is currently vice president of the Ilion school board.
William Lennox, who was chairman of the board of canvass during the merger vote, was unanimously elected board vice president.
“This board is a group of fantastic people with a deep talent pool and a great mix of different backgrounds that will bring great ideas to a dynamic, developing board,” said Coupe, adding one of his main focuses will be the newly merged district’s budget. “We have to have a spending plan by April 25, so within the next few weeks we have to complete the budget so the public has something to vote on in May.”
During the meeting board members discussed the creation of school policies.
“Every school board has an organizational meeting in which the board usually adopts school policies from previous years, but Ilion-Mohawk as a school has no policies in place yet, so we are going to have to go through policies from both schools to establish one for the new school,” Coupe said.
Madison-Oneida BOCES Labor Relations Coordinator Andy LaLonde said state law requires a school district to post its policies on the district’s website.
Unfortunately, the Ilion-Mohawk district has yet to create a website.
“We will be working with the new district to establish policies for the upcoming school year. We are starting from scratch which is good news and bad news, but once the policies are in place they can be amended and additions can be made if individuals have any concern,” said LaLonde. “If a website is not established for the new district by the time the policies have been chosen, the Ilion and Mohawk schools could place the new district’s policies onto their websites for the public to view.”
Transportation of students was another concern addressed by the board.
Currently, Ilion has a contract with Bernie Bus and Mohawk has its own busses.
Since the two schools have different means of transportation board members said they were concerned as to which type of transportation system would be best for the district.
“The assumption is the new district will have a mix of contract busing and the Mohawk school district’s bus system, but we have to look at the bigger picture and consider the most cost efficient way to run the bus system” said Mark Vivacqua, Herkimer BOCES district superintendent. “Transportation is not on the top of our list, but if it’s important to the public we can make it a priority.”
Vivacqua said the board would work with the transition team transportation committee to consider the best transportation system for the combined district.