WESTFIELD – The Westfield and Brocton school districts will not be merging.
Voters in Westfield on Wednesday defeated the proposition to merge the districts by a 718 to 507 vote.
Brocton voters favored the merger with a vote of 643 to 74.
The proposition had to pass in both districts for the merger to go ahead.
“This process has involved hundreds of people and thousands of hours,” said David Davison, superintendent of Westfield Academy and Central School. “I would like to thank everyone who participated over the last 14 months, the advisory committee, the focus groups and everyone who attended the community meetings or read information for their time and efforts on behalf of our children.”
He added, “New York State has designed the centralization process to hinge on the will of the communities. Tonight’s defeat of the binding referendum reflects the will of the Westfield community. In the days ahead we must work together to provide the best educational opportunities possible for our children.”
The merger plans have been discussed in both schools for more than 18 months.
“Maybe it is time for the state Education Department to start looking at a new process,” said Brocton Superintendent John Hertlein.
“Obviously, I am very disappointed,” Hertlein added.
He said both districts have economic problems that could have improved with the merger.
Hertlein said the Brocton Board of Education will meet Thursday to discuss what will happen in the future for the district.
The voting closed at 8 p.m. and then totals and absentee ballots had to be driven from Brocton to Westfield where the official announcement was made.
Each also voter had to decide on how many people would serve on the school board and the length of their term. Those propositions became null after the merger proposal failed.
The geographic lines of the district would have extended for more than 70 miles and would have included about 900 students.
The two districts already are fielding football team made up of players from both high schools.