The Northville and Mayfield central school districts plan to remove an option from the two districts' merger talks that would have initially raised school taxes by 40 percent on Northville residents.
The Northville Central School District Board of Education on Thursday unanimously removed the option.
The Mayfield Central School District Board of Education on Tuesday will consider removing the option. Mayfield Superintendent Paul G. Williamsen said he "absolutely" believes the board will remove it.
The districts had identified two options, both of which would provide more programs and services than either school district could offer on its own.
The first option, which the districts plan to remove, would have led to the increase in school taxes for residents of the Northville district.
Option two is still on the table and likely would result in no tax increases in either community for the first year of a merged district, according to a news release issued by the Northville and Mayfield districts.
Community public forums on the proposed merger between the districts will be conducted this week. Option two will be discussed, and after a brief presentation by the districts' leaders, forum participants will discuss pros and cons of a merger in small groups.
The Mayfield forum will be conducted at 6:30 p.m. today in the Mayfield Junior-Senior High School auditorium.
The Northville forum will be conducted at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the school auditorium.
Guided tours of both schools will be offered at 5:30 p.m. before the forums.
Northville Central School District Board of Education Vice President Sheldon Ginter today said the first option was developed by community advisory committees of both districts. When the final analysis was done of true value property assessments of both communities, he said a "large disparity" emerged for Northville.
He said Northville residents would have faced a 40 percent increase in the tax rate under option one.
"We went back to the study group and said there's got to be another option," Ginter said.
Under option two, he said there would be cutbacks, but spread over a five- to six-year period. Northville taxes would remain steady and Mayfield's tax rates might be reduced, he said.
Williamsen said the two boards of education have "been in cooperation ... since the very beginning."
Williamsen said the first option identified an amount to be raised by taxes to make the merger go through, and both districts realize that might be a tough sell to their constituents.
"Mayfield is absolutely understanding," Williamsen said.
In the release, he stated, "The only question both communities really need to consider is whether or not merging the schools is the right thing to do."
In the same news release, Northville Central School District Superintendent Kathy Dougherty stated, "The simple truth is although option one was very attractive, our communities likely wouldn't have supported it. The roadmap outlined by option two would sill lead to a merged school district that could offer more than either district could on its own, but would be much more affordable to our taxpayers."
If both communities vote this fall for the merger, it would begin July 1, 2013. Final decisions on the inaugural budget of the merged district would be up to a new board elected in January.
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at email@example.com.