Mayfield District head: Poll shows interest in merger

MAYFIELD – Mayfield Central School District residents are interested in continuing merger discussions with the Northville school district, according to an exit poll conducted in May.

During Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting, Mayfield Central School Superintendent Paul Williamsen reported around 75 percent of those polled were in favor of continued merger discussions with Northville.

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 Tuesday.

Williamsen said the district put out a few questions to get the opinions of the public.

According to the May 21 exit poll, 411 people, 163 of them students, voted. In total, 75 percent of the respondents were in favor of continued merger discussions with Northville. Of that 75 percent, 43 percent expressed interest in merging with Northville, while 32 percent favored exploring options with both Northville and Broadalbin-Perth Central Schools.

“So, for the most part, people understand that a merger is a good thing for us,” Williamsen said.

The merger, according to Williamsen, will bring much needed funds into the district.

Ten percent of those polled said they wished to only seek merger with Broadalbin-Perth, while 10 percent were not interested in merging with either district. The remaining 5 percent said they would need more information before deciding.

Williamsen said the district only had a 10-percent voter turnout. Williamsen said this may have been because of a perception that everything was going well.

“Two or three years ago, all heck was breaking loose,” Williamsen said.

However, Williamsen said with music programs and other wanted programs back, Mayfield’s finances are more stable.

Williamsen said Northville and Mayfield both seem to be interested in the merger, and Tuesday will tell if progress would be made.

Williamsen said a discussion is currently ongoing with Broadalbin-Perth about a potential merger if Northville votes no on the straw vote. A new merger study would need to be completed, if Mayfield and B-P decide to go ahead.

However, Williamsen said representatives would still need to meet to discuss this.