Two Fulton County school districts disagree on whether to join as one. As our Maria Valvanis explains, a two year long merger study proved to leave two very different messages with Northville and Mayfield residents.
FULTON COUNTY, N.Y. -- Mayfield resident Kevin Rovito said, "It's unfortunate two communities can't come together, then we could build all kinds of facilities."
Financial woes will continue to loom over the Northville and Mayfield Central School Districts as Tuesday's non-binding vote to merge didn't pass.
"Essentially, it's business as usual. The board will very soon begin to look at the 2013-2014 budget school year," said Northville Superintendent Kathy Dougherty.
Mayfield Superintendent Paul Williamsen said, "We'll have to reassess where we are. We know where our situation is with our short fall with the coming year and well be working on that."
Mayfield residents overwhelmingly passed the idea, with 529 yeses and 206 nos, while Northville residents expressed the e exact opposite, with 457 against the issue and 256 for it.
"The schools are going to lose their identity. There's going to be no more Panthers, no more Falcons for Northville," said Beth Whitman, a Mayfield resident.
Northville resident John Vohr said, "It appears a lot of serious cuts in the school offerings will come about if they don't have the merger, so I was persuaded by that to vote for it."
The merger would have brought along a $19 million incentive from the state. Without that money, both districts are looking at more staff cuts, as well as less programs for students.
"Our sports programs, extracurricular types of programs, non mandated programs, a lot of the art and elementary music programs," said Williamsen.
Rovito said, "It's unfortunate they'd be cutting that kind of stuff, ‘cause we could really use it."
But Tuesday's vote doesn't necessarily mean the issue is off the table.
Dougherty said, "If it doesn't pass in one and it does in the other, the one that didn't pass does afford the opportunity, after 365 calendar days, to petition the commissioner to go back and vote again."