Many questions on merger, official says

NORTHVILLE – Members of the school boards for the Mayfield and Northville school districts met with local residents Tuesday to discuss ways to answer questions and concerns about the proposed merger of the districts.

The Mayfield and Northville school districts have been considering a merger since 2010.

Northville residents rejected an advisory referendum, or straw vote, on the merger in September. Voters in Mayfield passed the referendum, but the support of residents in both districts was required to bring the merger proposal forward to a binding vote.

However, due to petitions from the community, Northville has scheduled another straw vote on the merger for June 25.

Northville Central School District Interim Superintendent Debra Lynker said many questions have been sent to her about the details of the merger. She said many of the questions are about how the merger will affect taxes, what would happen if the state decided not to support the merger, how long bus rides will be and which schools students will attend.

Northville Board of Education member John Sira said there are plans to put a letter or an advertisement in local newspapers to address some of the concerns about a merger between the two school districts.

“We hear people say all kinds of stupid reasons not to vote for it, and it was impossible to put it all in the document that appeared…,” Mary Ann Evans, who was on the original merger study committee, said.

Lynker said concerns were raised by some that Northville, if it merged with Mayfield, would pay by itself for new buses and shuttles for the merged district.

Lynker said that would not be the case.

“There [would] be no Northville and Mayfield anymore. It [would be] just the district,” Lynker said.

Lynker said that without a merger, Northville is facing a 10 percent increase in taxes in next year’s budget.

A public hearing is set to discuss the merger Tuesday at 6 p.m. prior to the Northville Board of Education meeting.

The boards also are still searching for a shared superintendent, which is separate from the merger vote.