EDINBURG - Town residents flocked to the Edinburg Common School gymnasium Wednesday to discuss the issue of where to send middle school and high school students starting in July.
Those who spoke made it clear they want to keep the 70-year tradition of sending those students to Northville Central School.
Concerned parents, grandparents and students voiced support for Northville, pointing to the proximity, small-school character and education.
Northville student and Edinburg Common School alumnus Holly Olmstead, left, addresses the crowd Wednesday at the Edinburg Common School public comment session. Edinburg Common School Superintendent Randy Teetz is shown at right.
The Leader-Herald/John Borgolini
Jacob Sitterly, a Northville student and Edinburg resident, said the students from Edinburg Common School don't feel any different than the Northville residents at that school.
"I think it's important to take the students' opinions," he said. "We don't look at ourselves as Edinburg students. We don't even look at ourselves as a Northville-Edinburg student. We think of ourselves as Northville students."
Maggie Duesler had two children go through the Northville after attending Edinburg and told the school board they were ready for college.
Duesler and several other residents credited this to the ability of Northville teachers being able to have more one-on-one interactions with their students.
"I think taking these kids out of Northville and putting them in Mayfield or Broadalbin, some kids are going to fall through the cracks," Duesler said.
The new deal will be for five years, and Broadalbin-Perth's offer includes a tuition rate per student that is less than half of what Northville is offering - $3,250 compared to $6,850, respectively, in the first year.
However, Broadalbin-Perth's rate is set to increase at 5 percent annually compared to Northville's 2.1-plus percent.
In the final year of the tentative deal, there would be a smaller difference, but Broadalbin-Perth's offer would still be more than $2,500 lower than Northville's offer.
Several residents questioned the board about allowing the residents to vote on the issue.
"The easiest way out for the board is to put it out to vote," Brad Brownell said. "If you put it out to vote, you're not going to be the bad guy ...
"There's a number of organizations you're going to shatter. You're gonna drop a bomb ... 'Well, we're just gonna take 51 students and move them here.' That just made Northville's struggles harder. If Northville fails, then Edinburg fails."
Northville Superintendent Debra Lynker, Board President Jim Beirlein and Vice President Shelden Ginter also were in attendance. Ginter said they wanted to see if there was anything Northville was doing wrong and if there was something they could do better.
Beirlein spoke highly of the Edinburg students and how well prepared they are when they arrive at Northville, and said their absence would hurt both mentally and financially.
"We will not be able to generate any savings with those losses of revenue," Beirlein said.
He also pointed to Broadalbin's Advanced Placement classes that, he said, were taken out two years ago but are being brought back.
"When our money got tight, we didn't drop our AP courses," he said. "We expanded them, and we plan on continuing to do that."
The Board of Trustees for the school will vote on the decision Jan. 14.
Board President Cynthia Fraiser said the members have not made a decision.