Months of hard work by Ripley and Chautauqua Lake school officials have paid off with a tuition agreement between the two school districts allowing Ripley students in seventh through 12th grades to attend Chautauqua Lake Central School in the 2013-14 school year.
It is good Ripley students will have the opportunity to take more electives while Ripley taxpayers could see a 4.1 percent decrease in taxes when the 2013-14 budget is finished. Meanwhile, Chautauqua Lake was built with room to grow - something that hasn't happened over the years as the district's population has decreased. The tuitioning agreement means the school receives a needed influx of money while picking up little additional cost.
It's safe to say the tuitioning agreement is good for both sides.
It is also safe to say the tuitioning agreement almost didn't happen. Ripley residents had to make a tough decision to send many of their children to a neighboring school district. If 10 Ripley residents who voted yes had voted differently in February, the whole agreement would have fallen apart. The process didn't get any easier once Ripley residents gave the authority for the district to pursue a tuitioning plan. The process has been difficult because there wasn't an existing process to follow, which made negotiations painstaking. We're sure there were times, behind closed doors, when Ripley and Chautauqua Lake officials felt like ending these discussions.
However, the officials should be applauded for continuing the hard work of these talks to come to an agreement that will benefit students in both districts. The officials should also be applauded for including an opt-out clause into their eight-year agreement in case regional high school legislation is ever approved by the New York State Legislature. It is nice to see some forward thinking. A true win-win.