District discusses merger

MAYFIELD – Residents of the Mayfield Central School District were told Tuesday they would have to make a choice in January: whether to merge with the neighboring Northville Central School District or attempt another two years of being independent.

During Tuesday’s monthly Board of Education meeting, a presentation was given showing the results of a feasability study of the proposed merger.

The SES Study Team, an independent consulting group that conducted an analysis, prepared an update to the Mayfield-Northville merger study. The updated study is posted for public view on the districts’ websites.

Mayfield Superintendent Joseph Natale said the presentation was not advocating for or against the merger but merely presenting the findings from the study.

Natale said the district could face numerous challenges in the future, including meeting the new Common Core education standards.

“There is a lot of work there and it requires a lot of support,” Natale said.

Natale said with cuts over the last several years to staff and programs, the district, if merged with Northville, could bring back or add programs. The presentation said the merger would allow for full-time psychologists and social workers, optimal class sizes, additional electives, more instructional technology and fine arts opportunities. Incentive aid also would be given to the district for the next 14 years.

The study said, when merged, taxes may increase in Northville and drop in Mayfield.

Natale, presenting examples using a home with a true value of $100,000, said the 2013-14 total school property tax bill for the home is $1,664 in Mayfield and $1,118 in Northville. If the districts were to merge and follow the suggestions of the feasibility study, the estimated school tax bill would be $1,245 for that property.

When the merger proposal went to a public vote in September 2012, Northville residents voted against it. Mayfield residents voted for the proposal. A straw poll held in Northville in June led the district to revisit the proposal. A public binding vote on the merger proposal is scheduled for Jan. 7.

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