Northville-Mayfield school merger moves forward

NORTHVILLE – Voters in the Northville Central School District voted Tuesday to allow a proposal to merge with the Mayfield Central School District to move forward.

In a 307-199 vote, residents approved a nonbinding “straw poll” on the proposed merger of the two small school districts on the Adirondack Park’s southern border. The approval means the Northville district can study the proposal further and send the plan to a binding public vote in the fall.

Northville voters rejected the proposal in a straw vote last September, 457-256, but the district put the plan up for a second vote after receiving petitions from the public. Mayfield school voters approved the straw vote last year.

“This is great day for children in both school districts, and this is great for the future, too,” said James Beirlein, president of the Northville school board.

He said he thinks voters approved the straw vote this time because people had more information and clear facts about the proposal.

Sandy Herdman said she voted no, partly because children would be on the bus longer and partly because she can’t see how the districts will save money.

Officials in the two districts previously said the districts have been forced in recent years to cut programs because of budget issues.

A merger, officials have said, would allow the new district to operate more efficiently. If the districts merger, they could receive $19 million in additional state aid over the new district’s first 14 years of operation, officials have said. The merger aid would prevent budget gaps, improve programs and stabilize school taxes, officials said.