ATHENS, PA. (WENY) -- Community members gathered in the Athens High School Auditorium Wednesday night to ask questions about a recent study Athens and Sayre Area School Districts performed over the possibility to combine the districts.

The districts had the study done because as WENY News previously reported, data showed Sayre student enrollment decreased after the 2019-2020 school year (a decrease of 2.7% over six years). Athens showed relatively stable trends in the student counts (growth of 0.4% over six years).

According to ALLOY5, who performed the study, a potential merger could ultimately save taxpayers money. Tax rates were one of the main issues on community members minds who attended the meeting Wednesday.

The firm said that a merger would have less incremental tax increases on the Sayre and Athens population than they could individually see if the schools were to stay separate. The study offered no official position or recommendation as to what the schools should do. Ultimately, that is for the Athens and Sayre School Boards to decide. With that, there is still no timeline on when an official decision might be made.

"The ultimate goal would be for the committee to come up with a proposal that would go to both boards to be voted on. Timing to be determined. We don't want to commit to any timing at this point. But, [what] we want to take away from here tonight, [is to] understand, do we need to make any suggested updates to the study. We want to make sure all our questions are answered," said Michael Owen, president of the Athens School Board. "The ultimate goal is to have a proposal that the board can vote on in the near future.

The group that performed the study said they will look closer at certain issues after the community feedback they received Wednesday.

To watch a recording on the public town hall held Wednesday, click here.

To view the full 291 page document of the study, click here. To watch the recording of the presentation from Tuesday, June 4th, click here.