Community defined by more than school

Those who will vote yes and those who will vote no today regarding merging the Northville and Mayfield school districts have a few things in common, in my opinion.

Neither can guarantee what the next school board or budget will look like, or how much money in that budget will be for programs for the kids.

However, although incentive money in a merged district initially is regulated to bring the taxes in both districts into equity, there also are regulations about how money in a solely Northville budget can be allocated. It may not be difficult for some members of this community to recommend going above the 2 percent tax cap in order to support what they deem important. But for others, going above that cap may be OK for a year or two, but indefinitely – maybe not. Then what? If the budget gets voted down again, the school, the hub of the community, is regulated and restricted for many of the things these people say we can offer on our own.

I find it sad that some people in this community think the school is the only thing that defines us enough to separate our identity from a neighboring district. Even though Edinburg kids come to Northville school from sixth grade on, that community has its own identity apart from Northville.

Although it can be said the state cannot force us to merge, neither can we force the state to allocate what we need for state aid in order to operate. Soon the state will be closing a nearby correctional facility. The state also has made moves to reduce its “investment” in other previously state-run entities. The state may not be officially able to force us to “merge,” but it is really just a question of semantics.

I have no doubt that those who disagree with my position on this matter equally feel they have the best interest of the kids and of the community at heart. Maybe they could come up with a better plan, but no other long-range plan exists.

Either way the vote goes, there is no turning back; we cannot return to the place we are today and say we change our minds once the vote is tallied. Please look into the future farther than “next” when considering how to vote on this issue. It will affect a lot of kids and people way beyond “next.”