Residents choose terms, number on board

ST. JOHNSVILLE – Residents of the Oppenheim-Ephratah and St. Johnsville school districts voted Tuesday for a seven-member school board, with members serving three-year terms.

Voters, who cast their ballot at D.H. Robbins Elementary School, chose the seven-member board, with 250 in favor of that option. Fifty-one voters wanted a five-member board and 44 supported a nine-member board.

The majority of voters, 224, chose three-year terms for board members. Four-year terms got support from 73 voters, while 36 supported five-year terms.

Oppenheim-Ephratah Superintendent Dan Russom said he was pleased with the outcome of Tuesday’s votes, but was a bit disappointed with the turnout.

“I think seven board members for a district this size is perfect,” Russom said. “A three-year term, many people liked that. I hope the turnout for the next vote will be better than this.”

Russom said all current members of the merged boards would be a good choice for the new board.

“The Oppenheim board has gotten along very well with our community,” he said. “I think the joint meetings with St. Johnsville, everyone has gotten along very well. We have been working together to make this as seamless as possible.”

Trish Christensen, a St. Johnsville school board member, said the members need more than three-year terms because it takes time for new members to get acclimated.

Petitions to run for the school board will be available Feb. 6 at each high school of the merging district. The submission deadline is Feb. 25. The vote to determine who will serve on the school board will be March 19.

Oppenheim-Ephratah voters approved the merger of the two districts in December. St. Johnsville voters previously approved the merger.

The districts are scheduled to have the details of the merger finalized by July 1, when they will officially become one district.