Residents in both the Brocton and Westfield school districts overwhelming supported the consolidation of the two districts in the straw vote held Tuesday. In Brocton, 545 residents voted, 468 in favor and 77 opposed. In Westfield, 676 residents voted, 508 in favor and 168 opposed.
Brocton Superintendent John Hertlein and Westfield Superintendent David Davison were both pleased with the results.
Hertlein, who had been pacing prior to the announcement of the final tally, was relieved about the results in Brocton. A few minutes later, Davison called him to report the positive results in Westfield.
OBSERVER Photo by Diane R. Chodan
Poll workers in the Westfield district stand ready to help residents vote in the straw vote concerning a merger with the Brocton school district held Tuesday. The total number of residents who voted were 676. The measure received overwhelmingly support with 508 approving consolidation and 168 disapproving. Left to right: Elena Marsala, Cossie Gizzi and Louise Young.
OBSERVER Photos by Diane R. Chodan
The Brocton School building (left) and Westfield school building are pictured.
Hertlein said, "I can't thank the community enough. I thank everyone who worked on this."
Brocton Board of Education President Thomas DeJoe said, "I am proud of both communities' response to the needs of the children. This will lead to a reduction of taxes for both districts. It's a win-win situation."
Davison's response was similar. He, too, thanked everyone who worked on the study and noted both communities were mindful of the needs of the students when they voted.
Pete Holt, a Westfield resident who served on the Joint Advisory Committee, said, "The voters confirmed what the consultants found in their study. I was concerned about the vote, especially since the voters in both districts have rejected previous merger attempts."
While optimism was evident, this was tempered by the fact that a straw vote is an advisory referendum. In October a binding vote will take place.
Hertlein said, "This is like the semi-finals. Now we have to get ready for the finals. This is just the beginning of a long three months."
Davison echoed this saying, "It's important that we remain committed to providing the best education possible. This is just the beginning."
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