EXETER TWP., Pa -

The Antietam and Exeter school districts are once again looking at merging.

The school board presidents said there could be significant benefits to the students and maybe even some cost savings, but residents are concerned about potential tax increases.

About 100 people attended a meeting at the Reformation Lutheran Church in Exeter Township on Monday night to hear about a proposal to merge the Antietam and Exeter school districts.

"I hope you can pull it off," said a former school board member from the 1970s, adding that merging has been a topic in the districts for a long time. 

And people in the audience said they are familiar with what both have to offer.

"I love the Antietam community," said Julie Cox, of Lower Alsace Township. "I think it's a wonderful place to live, but as far as education, it's not what I want for my children. So, we always planned when they entered elementary school to get them into Exeter."

Based on what the presidents of both school boards said, she might not have to move in two to three years.

"We pay higher taxes than Exeter in Antietam," said Cox. "If you move my home into Exeter, my taxes would be less. So even if I didn't have a reduction in my taxes, if my children got a better opportunity, I'm fine.

But not everyone agreed.

"So they will go up," asked Steve Cuzner about his taxes.

"We don't know," said Bob Quinter, president of the Exeter School Board.

"So, wouldn't that be something you'd want to know before we go any further?" asked Cuzner.

The boards said they'll meet at the end of the month.

"I have a whole list of things that they have done in the past that have been wasteful and have not been in the best interest of the residents or the students," said Cuzner. "So, I really don't trust that they'll make the right decision here."

Taxpayers will not get a referendum on the merger, so they will have to rely on their school board members to vote and to hammer out the details.

"I expect it to be the average resident to not feel a thing," said Quinter. "Life just goes on and the kids are affected by getting a better education."

Until then, they'll be working on it.

"We'll figure it out," said Quinter.