Merger study a roadmap to progress

Many letters to the editor have been submitted about the proposed merger of the Mayfield and Northville school districts, with a wealth of information, emotion and factual data, some of which has been inaccurate.

Fact: Northville Central School District has reaped the benefits of a low school tax rate for the past 15 years. While managing to hold the line on mandated educational programming, the elimination of non-essential programming has been the norm.

Fact: For those of us in the community involved in functions at the school, we see a small school wrestling with the ability to provide a well-rounded scholastic environment for our children. The merger allows us to look to the future to see what can and may be available to all students, present and future.

If you are under the impression that Northville is safe from the state closing it down, think again. The state could try to minimize the funding designated to districts that do not conform to its ideology that larger districts are cost-effective. It could create such a barren district that we would be forced to merge. It is your choice – merge now under our own conditions or later under the state’s conditions.

Citizens who are concerned with a 10 percent tax increase for the first year of the merged district should look at the previous tax-levy increase, 4.95 percent, of which $5,000 (1 percent of budget increase) was used for enhancing the programming of the entire school. If, for instance, this year, of the tax levy is near last year’s level and another 4.5 percent, $5,000 (1 percent) is added, we have accomplished status quo, or nothing. What these incremental levies do is allow us to maintain the ever-shrinking programming we currently have, which has diminished in the past 10 years. Also noteworthy, for the first year, any tax increase will be offset by the majority of the state aid the new district receives for merging ($19 million over 14 years).

We must take a leap of faith and rely on our administration, elected board members and future board members to do what is right when developing the new district and establishing the costs that we will bear as taxpayers. The merger plan outlines potentials in staffing, programming and costs. When this initiative is passed by the two communities, the architecture of the new district will be developed using the “roadmap” merger study to engineer a programmatically progressive school district where our children will receive the education that they deserve.