Wrapping up building configurations, a first look at a board of
education, creating a new identity, and projecting staffing needs
The Community Advisory Committee took another step
in the merger study process at its ninth meeting on July 27 held at
Mohawk's Jarvis High School. This evening's topics included building
configurations, the makeup of a board of education, what and how to
name the new district, and the staffing needs of a merged district.
View the agenda (PDF)
A last look at building configurations
In response to discussions held at the July 6
meeting, the committee began by revisiting the question of which
buildings would be better suited to house grades 5-6 and which would
house grades 7-8. After breaking into groups for discussion, the
subcommittees presented their final opinions. All agreed that neither
arrangement should be a "deal breaker," but they felt the swimming
pool at Herkimer High School would be more useful to grade 5-6
students and the proximity of Frankfort-Schuyler's sports fields would
benefit the modified sports teams of a grade 7-8 school.
A new board of education
The next discussion centered on how a board of
education might look.
The law only vaguely describes the requirements to
be a board of education member—a board candidate be at least 18 years
old, able to read and write, a district resident, be removed from the
district (no longer an employee or student) at least one year, cannot
hold an incompatible office, and cannot be incompetent.
Using this as a starting point, the committee broke
into subcommittees and reported their vision of a new board back to
the entire group. The subcommittees generally agreed that the board
should be made up of a minimum of seven or nine members serving
staggered terms of one to three years.
They recognized that the initial board members of a
newly merged district would carry greater responsibilities to get the
district operating smoothly as quickly as possible. The committee
described a good board member as a good listener, a good communicator,
committed to the merger, having an education or business background,
possibly having board of education experience, committed to children
and the community, thick-skinned, and having the time to serve.
Many expressed a desire to require each of the
current districts be represented on the new board. School law,
however, prohibits any attempt to restrict board membership.
A school name, colors, and mascot
The next challenge was to imagine the process to
name the school and adopt school colors and a school mascot.
Regarding a school name, the committee suggested a
wide range of options including allowing the students to choose,
holding a community-wide vote, or allowing the board of education to
decide. Some members suggested voting on possible district names as
early as the straw vote while others suggested waiting until after the
Nearly everyone agreed that choosing school colors
and a mascot should be left to the students. It was strongly suggested
that the new colors not include those of the existing districts, but
be something unique to the new district.
Staffing the new district
Based on information presented in the previous
meetings, the committee looked at how the new district might be
staffed including administration, teachers, and support staff. The
data included the total cost compared to current costs.
The next meeting will address the specifics of
district finances. The study team is awaiting each district's final
tax rates and the communities' equalization rates to be issued
sometime in August before scheduling the next meeting.