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Parents troubled by possible Fort Edward-South Glens Falls merger

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FORT EDWARD, NY (WRGB ) - There’s concern in Fort Edward over a pre-merger study between two school districts, but officials say nothing is set in stone just yet.

"We know the people here, we trust the people here, said Nick Roblee.

It's that factor of being around the corner from their son's elementary school.

"We like the small school district," said Kate Roblee.

The tight-knit, familiar feel that brings up questions for Nick and Kate Roblee about the possibility of their school district, Fort Edward, merging with a much larger one: South Glens Falls.

"Transportation, sports programs, high school issues," Nick Roblee cites.

All questions about the future of the Fort Edward Union Free School District.

"The district started looking last year at pre-merger studies based on loss of tax revenue," said Fort Edward Superintendent Daniel Ward.

Ward says the district continues to study merger possibilities because of a loss of $64 million in taxable property in the village after GE’s river dredging plant closed.

"We feel good about where we are but we need to be ready to make a decision," Ward said Thursday.

The building on Broadway houses 500 Pre-K through 12th grade students, and is a staple of the village of Fort Edward. But the necessary study, Ward says, will look at many aspects in a potential merger.

"Student programming and student opportunities, proposed tax rates if the annexation were to occur, transportation, use of buildings, things like that," Ward listed.

We asked how existing teachers would be impacted in a merger, but in such early stages, it's hard to say.

Ward says they'll have study results in June, and they'll compare those to a previous study with Hudson Falls.

In the meantime, he encourages questions from the community.

“In the end, we could be the Fort Edward Union Free School District for the next 50 years,” Ward said. “We're just trying to get all the information necessary if and when we need to make a big decision for our school district."

Ward reiterates this is a study looking at a hypothetical situation - a merger wouldn't become reality, he says, for at least a couple of years.

The South Glens Falls School District says it's open to learning how both districts would benefit from a merger.

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