As time to vote draws near, many residents are still undecided about the proposed merger of the Northville and Mayfield school districts. Much has been written using both accurate and inaccurate information. I would like to address a few important points.
First, no one can deny that our programs have suffered over the past few years. Our big question is how to fix the problem. According to the merger study, if we merge, about $1.4 million of the incentive aid given for the first year can be used to improve programs as well as stabilize taxes. A summary of the additional programming opportunities, on Page 27 of the study, even includes $50,000 for interscholastic, exploratory and enrichment activities. This state aid is in addition to the regular allotment - more money for reinstating and improving programming. Now that sounds like a good start.
Second, many people worry about the NCS building and facilities usage. The Northville pre-K through fifth grade and the sixth through eighth grade (middle school) will be housed at NCS. That gives us the biggest school population in a single building. With students and staff coming and going, the village and its local businesses will remain vibrant. As for the playing fields, they'll be available to both boys and girls teams at all levels for games and practices, giving more flexibility to scheduling.
The length of the instructional day will be the same; but the overall starting/ending times will change to allow for the busing of high school and middle school students the 10-mile distance between the two facilities. To accommodate this, Northville Elementary School could have a morning program from 8:25 to 9, and instruction will be from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. At the middle school, instruction could be from 8:25 a.m. to 3:05 p.m. with an after-school program until 3:30.
Finally, the uncertainty of change is a big worry. How will the new school board govern? All we can be certain of is that the new school board will be working for all students.
What guarantees do we have that the proposed changes will happen? There will be no Northville or Mayfield students, as they'll be in the same school and affected equally. The new school board members will come onboard with a blueprint of what we, the taxpayers, expect for our school.
A "yes" vote is the logical path to follow.