SHIRLEY, Maine — Residents voted 60-30 Tuesday to close their small elementary school at the end of the 2009 school year.
A closing plan devised earlier by Superintendent Heather Perry and the Shirley School Committee will now be forwarded to Department of Education Commissioner Susan Gendron for approval. The action is a formality, according to Perry.
“Certainly it was a hard decision, not one that was easily made,” Perry said after the votes were tallied. A little more than half of the 175 registered voters showed up to cast ballots on the issue.
“Nobody wanted to see the school building closed,” Perry said. “I think it was just down to a really tough choice because there were only two students and an issue of what’s best for the education of those kids.”
Tuesday’s referendum followed a 3-2 vote taken earlier this month by the school committee to close the school.
Although the school serves only two students this year and no kindergarten children are expected next year, Perry said earlier that the issue wasn’t money but educational opportunities.
As it currently does for older students, the town will provide transportation and pay tuition to have the elementary pupils educated in Greenville schools.
Perry said the school committee will now decide what should remain with the building itself once it’s turned back to the town and what should go with the pupils to Greenville.