MANSFIELD - After Southern Tioga School Board members heard a presentation on the district's feasibility study and options on closing schools, it was the public's turn to lead the discussion.
Some members of the public asked the board to allow voters to help them with the decision.
Bob Wirth, of Liberty Township, said he understands that the board is facing a "difficult decision." He asked the board for a "simple request."
"We are asking for a referendum because this is a crucial decision," he said.
He said by doing this, it would alleviate any blame to the board as they were just doing the wishes of the public.
Robin Stetter, also of Liberty Township, agreed with Wirth.
"As the public, we have a right to vote," she told the board.
Others wondered why the feasibility study presentation did not include transportation costs for bussing students from the area that a school is closed.
Roy Zeafla, of Liberty Borough, asked the board if there really would be any savings by closing a school if transportation costs would rise.
"That has to be considered before we make any decisions," Zeafla said.
Scott Vencil, of Crabtree, Rohrbaugh and Associates, presented the feasibility study and told the public that a transportation study would need to be done.
Ivan Erway, board president, said the board is still trying to get all of the information before making any decision on what direction to go.
Sharon Miller, of Cogan House Township, said she believed it was not properly publicized that the board would be discussing the possibility of closing schools at the meeting. She thinks a lot more people would have come if it were the case.
"We have thousands and thousands of taxpayers watching TV ... who would love to know this," she said.
District Superintendent Keith Yarger said the information would be available on the district website and possibly putting something in the area's libraries.
But Stetter reminded the board that a decision shouldn't be made over buildings because of money or making taxpayers happy, but for what's best for the students.
"Our students are at the center of this," she said.
Yarger said that if a building is not closed, then programs will begin to be cut. Laura Perry, business manager, also said if all schools remain open for the 2013-14 school year the district will see a deficit in their budget.