EXETER TWP., Pa. -

A decision has been made in the long-debated merger between the Exeter Township and Antietam school districts.

The Exeter Township School Board voted 8-0 against it, with one person abstaining Tuesday night.

"There was an incredible amount of sentiment against going forward at this time," said Robert Quinter, the Exeter School Board president.

Those for the merger felt a larger student body would open up more opportunities for academics and sports.

Those against it, however, said there was no financial benefit for residents in Exeter.

"It cost me money with the merger. We pay enough in taxes," said Scott Doll, of Exeter Township.

And they said it would create overcrowding in Exeter's high school, which would be the only one to remain open in a merged district.

"I love the Antietam kids. They are wonderful people, but the class sizes are already too big, and to add that many people, I would kind of feel lost in the class," said Michaela Dungan, an Exeter student.

Despite denying the merger, school board members did vote unanimously to share services with Antietam, which would allow students to attend classes in their neighboring school district.

"Anything is wide open. Anything that can save money, quite frankly, is wide open or give the student a wider opportunity," said Quinter.

"We want our neighbors to know that if we have opportunities that they necessarily cannot have at this point, they are invited to participate with us, and we want them to," said James Brady, a school board member.

Parents said they were happy with the Exeter board's decision.

"I think they finally listened to the people, and that is what they needed to do," said Cindy Murray, an Exeter parent.

"I was really glad they did their due diligence and thought about different options, like the one they approved to share services," said Lisa Wilder, another Exeter parent.

So for now, the neighboring school districts can work together, and school board members said the merger may be revisited in the years to come.