WESTFIELD – A meeting to give residents an opportunity to ask questions before next Tuesday’s vote on the merger of Brocton and Westfield Central School Districts featured a large turnout Wednesday in the auditorium of the Westfield High School.
About 100 people came to the presentation by School Superintendent David Davison of Westfield, Superintendent John Hertlein of Brocton and BOCES Superintendent Dr. David O’Rourke.
Voters will be asked to decide on the merger during a vote from noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday. Brocton residents can vote in the school’s gym, and Westfield residents can vote in the high school lobby. Results will be announced at Westfield school after the polls close.
Voters in each district approved a feasibility study into combining the two districts. The two schools are eight miles apart on Route 20.
Among the items outlined in the study were the declining enrollment in both districts and the loss of some specialized classes, especially in high school. The plan would have each school maintain elementary school classrooms, with Westfield housing middle school students and Brocton high school students.
The districts would look at offering more electives to high school students. Art, music and technology as well as advanced placement classes were among the elective courses that will be considered.
The combined districts would also consolidate many administrative positions, including superintendent.
Besides deciding on the merger, voters will be asked to consider two additional motions on a board of education for the combined district, if approved: how many trustees should serve on the new board and the length of terms – five, seven or nine trustees and three, four or five years, respectively.
Officials noted a merger would result in substantial savings with state aid incentives. Funds for the first five years would amount to about $2.6 million each year. Funds could be used to lower the property tax rate in each community.
Another incentive is an increase in building aid for the combined district, helping to pay off debt on capital projects. A total of $25 million in increased operating aid was proposed over a 15-year period of the merger.
A special election for school board members would be held in December. The proposal calls for the combined district to up and operating by July 1.