The Future of Schuyler County
WATKINS GLEN -- [WENY] It's a merger that has been in the talks for years.
But tonight Schuyler County district members listened closely as people gave their opinions and hopes for the futures of Odessa-Mountor and Watkins Glen schools.
The student enrollment for each districts has decreased nearly 500 students from 1980 to the current year.
District Leaders and members of the community agree, that something has to be done and quick.
"I think we should keep music and band and stuff like that so we can learn," said Alex Kolp.
Future generations of students like Alex, who's in fourth grade, may not get the chance to be exposed to the arts as talks of an Odessa-Montour and Watkins Glens merger draws closer.
Non-mandated programs that are in jeopardy include art, music, phys ed, pre-K, band and chorus.
"We need phys ed, you know, we're always complaining that our kids are obese and yet we are going to get rid of the things that make them stay healthy," said Steven Kolp, an Odessa-Montour Parent.
But, not everybody agrees.
"I think that because of the lack of funding that we're getting at the state level, at the current time, we really need look at better options and if the merger is a better option if will help to get more aid into our community if it will help to keep the programs," said Melissa Norton, an Odessa-Montour Parent.
Others say they just want what's best for the kids.
"We're worried about our programs, we're worried about our kids, we're worried about about if we're being able to offer them the ACE programs, the AP programs. We wanna make sure they have really rich rich educations that they're terrific readers terrific writers they get to learn great math skills," said Marie Fitzsimmons a teacher at Watkins Glen High School.
A.C.E. And AP classes and after school buses can end up on the chopping block.
For some that's a big concern.
"I know there are students who need after time help and there is no late bus runs which means they don't have that time time and the teacher are like they said busier, so they don't have time to devote to the students who need it most," said Jessica Littler, a senior in high school.
The key questions remain as to what opportunities define a quality education for students and how the community can work together hold on to educational programming.