Voters out the door for CV-CF merger straw poll

By Matt Porter

December 3, 2013 Updated Dec 3, 2013 at 8:07 PM EDT

Town of Chenango, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Voters in both Chenango Valley and Chenango Forks showed up in record numbers for straw vote on proposed merger.

The lines stretched down school hallways, almost out the door.

The straw vote will determine if the proposed merger between the school districts will continue on.

Chenango Forks voter Anita Haskell was not convinced the savings proposed would really add up.

"They say it will be good now, but that's how they do it," Haskell said. "It's good now, but then down the road they say, 'Oh gee, it isn't that good."

The final study prepared by consultants and members of both districts shows there could be significant savings on resources by combining schools, and millions would be provided in state aid.

However, a sticking point for Chenango Forks voters is that they would likely pay an additional $300 in an increased tax rate for the first year, while Chenango Valley voters would have a lower tax rate in the first year.

The reason is that both district tax rate's will be combined into one blended tax rate.

Chenango Valley voter Mary Sabato said she thinks combining districts will bring improvements to both schools.

"I feel it's better as far as taxes go," Sabato said, "I feel it will create more jobs."

This is the first of two votes from the community to decide if the merger will officially begin.

Chenango Forks superintendent Joe Peck said he was happy so many turned out for the community vote.

"I think the more people vote, the more representative of our population is and the truer sense you get about how people feel about the merger," Peck said.

Chenango Valley interim superintendent David Gill said all the information has been put out there for voters.

"The information has been provided," Gill said. "You just have to sift through what again is important to you."

Other hot button issues include what will happen to the athletic departments in both districts and how they will be divided.

This is the third time voters have gone to the polls regarding a merger of the two districts since the 1980s.

Both districts must pass the resolution for the process to move forward.

If the districts approve the motion, than a final referendum will be prepared by the state for an election in late January or February.

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