Board continues push for vote to run smoothly

BROCTON – While the consolidation vote for Brocton Central School and Westfield Academy and Central School gets closer with each passing day, several steps still need to be completed for everything to run smoothly on the big day.

During last week’s Brocton Board of Education meeting, Superintendent John Hertlein explained to the board that, as per New York State Education Department regulations, the district needs to collect 70 signatures from residents in order for Brocton to become a polling location on Oct. 9.

“As soon as I get the order of petitions (on Monday), I will ask all of the (board members) to help,” he said.

“First, we have to have 70 original names that says we want to have a vote. It’s 140, in total, because Westfield will also need to collect 70 signatures. We can have the same 70 names on our second petition, which says we will be able to vote in Brocton,” Hertlein continued.

The names must be submitted to the State Education Department within 36 hours of receiving the order. Since Westfield will be the primary voting location (due to its district being larger than Brocton’s district), Brocton will need the second petition if it wants to set up the second polling location.

Hertlein also said two informational sessions are in the works to inform interested members of the public what they can expect if the consolidation vote goes through. Both Brocton and Westfield will hold their own session.

“These sessions will have a fair-type atmosphere,” Hertlein said. “We will have centers for things like finances, curriculum, building design and so on and so forth. I think we came up with seven centers. Then, people will be invited in to go around and ask questions. It’ll last about an hour and a half to two hours. I would like to hold ours in our cafeteria.”

A date and time for both informational sessions will be announced as soon as they are finalized.

Hertlein also announced that affected parents and students will have the option of taking a bus ride from Brocton to Westfield, or Westfield to Brocton, during both schools’ open houses in order to tour the opposite school and get a feel for what their children will be getting into at the other school.

Personal invitations will be sent out to Brocton families with children in grades 5, 6 and 7 for the tour of Westfield. For Westfield, families with children in grades 8, 9, 10 and 11 will be given similar invites to tour Brocton’s facilities. The general public is allowed to tour the schools, as well, but will not be allowed to take bus rides to the corresponding schools.

Open house dates are slated for Sept. 26 from 6 to 8 p.m. for Brocton and Sept. 19 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. for Westfield.

Before the vote, Brocton must also gather together 12 representatives for a board of canvass, which will oversee the total vote (which is set to occur at Westfield) with another 12 representatives from Westfield. Hertlein said the list of representatives will be compiled and sent to the State Education Department, which must approve the board of canvass, within the next week or so.

As another required step for the merger vote, Brocton will vote to approve seven election workers to manage the districts’ voting throughout the day on Oct. 9. The board will approve the workers at its next meeting, which is scheduled for Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. in the board room.

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