The Northville-Mayfield merger is the hot topic for sure. So, what should we do?
A question not asked at merger meetings is "what would it cost to reinstate the programs cut?" The business office said it would cost $913,200. That figure does not include the cuts that were reinstated. The effect would be an approximate increase of 15.25 percent on the tax levy. Unfortunately, this would not be covered with incentive aid if there is no merger.
The bulk of the stabilization of the tax rate for Northville will be offset by state aid, and after that, the combined district will be subject to the state tax cap.
Now, let's go back to the services provided five years ago. With all of those reinstated, the students would still not have many of the advantages suburban and city schools provide for advanced placement and enrichment opportunities.
My vision of our community is that we are a conservative, community-oriented group with basic values who support one another. We all want what is best for the children. If we want our children to be well prepared, well adjusted, happy and fulfilled, we had better ante up and pay the piper.
Being a conservative and realistic person who already pays well above the average school tax bill, it is clear to me that the merger is the best option to both provide our children with the necessary and enhanced services they need to be competitive in this world, and would be the most reasonable cost impact to us all.
As chairman of the town of Northampton Planning Board, it is clear to me an expanded and robust education program strongly markets our community, attracting young families, thus drawing in more businesses, which ultimately expands the tax base further, stabilizing our taxes in the future.
I have had experience with merged districts. I was superintendent of schools in Dolgeville for 16 years. The district was merged with Stratford and the program benefits far outweighed any problems. Our three children had college courses, advanced placement courses, distance- learning opportunities and wonderful computer technology access. The opportunities are endless with conscientious, dedicated community leaders involved on the school board.
ROBERT L. SMITH