Westport and Elizabethtown-Lewis Voters Approve School District Merger
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 4, 2018 – Westport, NY
On December 4, 2018, residents of the Westport and Elizabethtown school districts voted on a proposed merger of the two school districts. Brenda Drummond, Chairperson of the Board of Canvass, has announced that the final vote tally on Proposition #1 – to merge the two school districts, including absentee and provisional ballots, was 309 Yes and 185 No in Westport, and 402 Yes and 46 No in Elizabethtown-Lewis.
Since voters in both the Westport and the Elizabethtown-Lewis school districts approved combining their schools, the votes on the composition of the new district’s Board of Education (Proposition #2) and the length of the Board members’ terms (Proposition #3) were also counted. The number of Board of Education members for the combined school district will be 7 members, based on the following vote tally: 176 voted for a 5 member Board, 616 for 7 members, and 182 for 9 members. Their terms will be set as 3 years, based on the following vote tally: 628 voted for 3-year terms, 280 for 4-year terms, 88 for 5-year terms.
The merged school district will begin operating as a single district for the 2019-2020 school year.
Dr. Mark Davey, District Superintendent of Champlain Valley Educational Services (CVES) and the NYS Education Commissioner’s representative in the CVES BOCES area, worked with the Westport and Elizabethtown-Lewis school districts and the NYS Education Department to facilitate and oversee the merger process. Thank you to each district’s Boards of Education, the State Education Department and all of the district and community members for their participation and engagement throughout the entire process culminating in the successful vote. After the vote, Dr. Davey said, “I would like to commend the voters in both the Westport and Elizabethtown-Lewis school districts for taking this leap of faith, and voting to combine their schools and to create a collective decision to combine their district moving forward so that today, they can provide a more comprehensive educational program to their students. I look forward to working with them on this exciting new endeavor.”
Both board presidents weighed in on the districts’ successful vote to merge with the following statements: Doug Spilling, president of the Elizabethtown-Lewis Board of Education said, “The community has spoken and we are coming together, better together, and together we will define our new path forward,”
Alice LaRock, president of the Westport Board of Education said, “The challenge has just started and we are certainly hoping for a successful school year to begin July 1st. We know we have support from the community and the staff to continue the excellence education that we have had in the past,”
With this positive vote, the next step will be the election of a Board of Education for the new district. This will be accomplished when the commissioner orders a special district meeting to elect board members on January 15, 2019 according to SED’s timeline. Petitions for new board members will be available at the Office of the District Superintendent of CVES beginning December 11, 2018.