Residents in the Mayfield and Northville school districts are being called to meetings this week to learn details of a proposed merger that’s been under consideration for three years.
Northville residents went to the polls this summer to reconsider the merger study they’d rejected in September 2012, leading to an update of the proposed merger’s details and a vote now scheduled for Jan. 7, 2014.
The updated plan was placed on the Internet last week for public review. District officials and Board of Education members are planning to field questions in Mayfield Tuesday and in Northville on Thursday.
Northville school board Vice President James Beirlein on Monday said both districts are facing declines in enrollment as homes that once housed young families now house retirees in many cases.
For both districts, the chance of additional state funding could mean the difference between restoring programs lost in past budgets or continuing on the current path, Beirlein said.
And for Beirlein, the discussion is about more than education, but also about the community and its ability to attract young families and business.
If we don’t have a good education program in Mayfield or Northville, we’re not going to attract young families,” Beirlein said.
The feasibility study, prepared by The SES Study Team LLC, outlines the challenges both districts face as they consider a merger that would yield $18 million in additional state funding if approved.
For one, there’s little chance of increased state education funding while taxpayers struggle to shoulder the increasing cost of education.
Sluggish property value growth, declining population and shrinking job opportunities are among other difficulties putting pressure on school districts, according to the study.
Mayfield residents voted in favor of the study in 2012 while those in Northville rejected it after learning their property taxes would increase.
The modified study’s numbers still suggest a tax increase for Northville district residents, but would tax all residents at the same level.
Taxes on a home valued at $100,000, under the updated feasibility study, would cost $1,245 in the 2014-15 year for all residents in the merged district drawn from Mayfield, Northampton, Johnstown, Broadalbin, Hope, Bleecker, Benson and Edinburg.
For a property owner in the Northville district, taxes on a $100,000 property would increase by about $127 for the year.
In Mayfield, school taxes on a $100,000 home would shrink the annual tax bill by $419, according to the study.
Currently, tax rates very greatly between the two districts. In Northville, a district of about 447 students, residents are paying $11.18 per $1,000 of the true value of their properties. In Mayfield, with about 907 students, taxpayers spend $16.64 per $1,000.
Under current, separate districts, residents in the Northville district pay $1,118 on a $100,000 property; those in Mayfield pay $1,664.
The updated feasibility study compares current costs with those anticipated in the event of a merger.
The Mayfield and Northville districts have a combined budget of $26,991,624 and projections for 2013-14 put that figure at $27,639,423.
Projections in the study suggest both districts could merge with a budget of $27,765,724.
A copy of the updated study can be found online at http://www.mayfieldk12.com/merger/Merger.cfm.
Residents in Mayfield will gather at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday evening in the high school library.
A meeting for Northville residents will begin at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the Northville school auditorium.