Dates set for referendums in newly merged school district

JOHNSTOWN – Residents in the newly merged Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville school district will head to the polls Jan. 29 for the first of two referendums that will decide the makeup of the district’s new Board of Education.

The Jan. 29 referendum will ask voters to decide how many members should be on the new board of education (five, seven or nine) and how long the members should serve per term (3, 4 or 5 years).

On March 19, voters will elect members from a slate of board candidates.

All voters will cast ballots at the D.H. Robbins Elementary School in St. Johnsville.

Once elected, the new Board of Education will select a superintendent, begin working on contracts with all bargaining units and craft the district’s first budget.

Residents will vote on the budget May 21.

On Dec. 20, the Oppenheim-Ephratah and St. Johnsville school boards held a joint meeting to discuss the transition process.

The boards have another joint session planned for Jan. 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the Oppenheim-Ephratah School.

“We’re in the process now of assembling budget information for the new Board of Education so it can hit the ground running once elected,” Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services Superintendent Patrick Michel said in a news release.

Michel is guiding the new district as it merges operations.

“People undoubtedly have a lot of questions. I encourage people to keep an eye on the district websites. We’ll post information as soon as it becomes available,” Michel said in the release.

On Dec. 11, residents in Oppenheim-Ephratah voted 385-366 in favor of a binding referendum, approving a merger with St. Johnsville. Residents in St. Johnsville approved the merger last December.

St. Johnsville was a component district of HFM BOCES, while Oppenheim-Ephratah was a component of Herkimer BOCES.

The state Education Department has determined the new district is a component of HFM BOCES.

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