Herkimer High School hosted a merger study presentation tonight. With four Herkimer county school districts potentially looking to become one-- Frankfort-Schuyler, Herkimer, Mohawk, and Ilion--the meeting is the beginning of a long process. It's a controversial issue but at this point for most people, it's too early to pick a side.
Tonight's meeting, meant to inform the public and answer questions, was led by the team that conducted the study. There was a big turnout for the meeting, with a group of concerned community members.
"I have four children and I'm interested into how it's going to affect them," says Alisha Laquee, "I'm here tonight to find out the truth."
While most feel it's too early to form an opinion, there are some issues that people I spoke with are worried about. Herkimer resident Rebecca Cristman says while she's still on the fence, taxes are a concern of hers--if the merger happens, they're supposed to go down. But she's concerned what will happen if the merger doesn't go through.
For most the important issue is the affect it will have on education. "I sincerely hope it would be a better program for our children," says Cristman.
After seeing the numbers from the study, Citizens Advisory Committee Member Dale Miller, who worked on the study, thinks it will be better. "I think it's a wonderful opportunity for the area to really improve its educational system," he says.
But Herkimer High Senior Brianne Bellow says she's worried about the merger, even though it might not affect her. "We have the most to lose as a school district," she says, "I feel that we're better off than the other schools who need to merge more than we do."
After these public presentations are over, they'll be followed by community discussion meetings, and then voting by the school boards and the community.