To voters in the Northville and Mayfield school districts:
On Jan. 7, voters face a critical responsibility in our children's education. The proposed merger features key advantages that voters and parents need to know.
A merger would create economies of scale and avoid duplication of services, while providing a large and much-needed state incentive aid package ($19 million over 14 years) to offset tax differences and stabilize the tax base. For our children, a merger would increase educational programs, maintain and expand shrinking extracurricular and athletic programs, and provide greater access to electives and facilities. Additionally, a merger provides needed building improvements reimbursed 95 percent by the state. In the merger, the districts would retain their elementary schools, and the middle school would be in Northville and the high school would be in Mayfield. Bus runs would be under one hour; after all, door to door, the schools are only 10 miles apart.
In the recent past, declining enrollment and revenue as well as rising costs resulted in Northville's program loss of $913,200, according to the Northville Business Office. "Holding the line" has meant a decline in quality of programming and enrichment of educational experience. Cuts in staffing and programs prohibit valuable opportunities offered to previous students. Elementary students in Northville have art and music once every eight days, which is only three times a month. At the middle school level, there are no technology classes for sixth grade, and foreign language (Spanish is the only choice) isn't available until eighth grade. There are no more field trips or jazz band. Moreover, this year, Northville lost a technology teacher, a science teacher and a band director to other districts paying higher salaries. We cannot keep quality personnel if we continue to shrink them to 0.4 and 0.5 and require them to travel between districts. The bleed on educators at the expense of students must stop.
Voting is from noon until 8 p.m. in the lobby of the high school gym for Mayfield and in the gym at Northville. According to the state Education Department, to be eligible to vote, you must be 18 years old and have lived in the district for the past 30 days. Don't miss this important opportunity to be the voice of our children's future.
Our kids, their future, vote yes.
LOUISE K. SIRA