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Mohawk Valley

Ilion and Mohawk schools merge

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Ilion and Mohawk schools merge
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A school merger in Herkimer County has been in the works for years. And Tuesday, the Ilion and Mohawk School Districts finally got the result they've been looking for. YNN's Cara Thomas tells us what's next for the soon-to-be joined districts, after this lengthy and exhausting process.

HERKIMER COUNTY -- School districts in Herkimer County have been working toward a merger for years.

Eugene Beirne, Interim Superintendent of the Mohawk School District said, "I imagine there's a lot of voter fatigue out there. Because the talk goes back, well the officials talk about the merger, goes back to about 2008."

Ilion and Mohawk school districts originally planned to have a two school merger. But those plans quickly changed when Frankfort and Herkimer school districts jumped on board. But that four school merger was voted down by Frankfort residents, followed by a proposed three school merger, voted down by Herkimer a year later.

Brian Kelley, a Ilion Resident, said, "I wish the other two schools had stayed out of it, because then it would be done already."

So now they're back to where they started with the possibility of an Ilion-Mohawk School District. And only this one vote stood in their way.

The merger passed with more than 600 votes in Ilion and 550 votes in Herkimer. Numbers which reflected a popular opinion among residents. They were eager to see this merger finally come to fruition.

Rich Keeler, a Mohawk Resident said, "It's tiresome, I think people are done thinking about it, done talking about it, especially ilion and mohawk, two communities that have known this is something that needs to happen for some time now."

There were those voters who disagreed with the merger. They said they felt that they didn't have enough information, and feared what could happen to their taxes if the schools combined.

Edward Perry, a Mohawk Resident said, "I just don't see it as a good long term solution. It might work for a couple of years but I really don't think it will be for the best of our village anyway."

But with the vote finally passed, the schools will immediately begin putting their plans into place. By next school year the students will be in their new schools: an elementary school in both towns, the Jarvis High School in Mohawk will be the new middle school and Ilion's High School will be the senior high for the new Ilion-Mohawk Central School District.

Residents made two other decisions while at the polls Tuesday. They chose how many board member would be in their combined board of education as well as how long their terms would last.

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