Earlier this month a school district merger vote was held in Elmore and Morristown. Both towns needed to approve the measure for the two school districts to merge into one. The measure was defeated in Elmore and passed in Morristown by a four-vote margin.
A petition has been filed and a revote scheduled for Dec. 29 in Elmore. Elmore school directors fast-tracked the revote with hopes of securing $150,000 in state merger incentives that expire at the end of the year. However, even if Elmore voters reverse their decision, the merger may not be a done deal.
Meanwhile, in Morristown, there is currently a petition circulating to reconsider that town's vote. If enough signatures are gathered and a second vote held, a negative outcome from Morristown voters would negate a positive outcome in Elmore. In other words, if a revote is also held in Morristown, both communities would have to vote yes the second time around for a merger to proceed.
"Some Morristown residents are circulating a petition requesting the Morristown School Board to set a date for the voters to reconsider their original decision," resident Paul Griswold posted on the Morristown Front Porch Forum. "They are questioning some of the reasons given to support the merger. Recent statements by members of the Legislature and the Governor of our State indicate some of the key measures will possibly be changed. It seems prudent to wait for these changes, if made, prior to finalizing any merger."
Griswold noted that a successful petition in Morristown will require approximately 175 signatures by Nov. 30. His post concluded, "The merger is, without a doubt, the single most serious and most important change our school has faced since its beginning over 100 years ago. Once in place there will no going back. Please choose to sign the petition to give yourself and others another chance to vote, hopefully, with additional and less confusing information."
Voters on both sides of the merger issue, especially in Elmore, have taken to social media to accuse people on the other side of disseminating misinformation. The Elmore School Board's haste to schedule a revote before the end of the year, during the week between Christmas and New Years Day when many residents are away, also drew sharp criticism online.
The first informational meeting on the Elmore revote will be held during a regular school board meeting at 5 p.m. on Dec. 14, at the Elmore School. A second public meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Dec. 21, at the Elmore Town Hall. According to the town of Elmore website, absentee ballots will be available on or around Dec. 15.