LAGRANGE, Maine — Passion and emotion were behind statements made Wednesday by town residents who expressed their hope that SAD 41 directors would keep their small school open, according to school officials.
SAD 41 Superintendent Mike Wright said about 75 people attended a special board meeting to discuss the possible closure of the Marion Cook Elementary School. If the school were closed, the district would save about $250,000, which would help offset a projected $500,000 revenue loss.
“I think it was very helpful for the board to be able to hear what people have to say,” Wright said of the meeting.
Parents expressed concerns about what it would take to keep the school open and the length of travel for children if the school closed, he said. If the school were closed, pupils would be distributed into the Brownville and Milo elementary schools, he said.
School officials are documenting the specific savings that the school closing would bring as required by the state Department of Education. The department will review the figures before the board takes any action, likely in March.
If the board were to vote to close the school, LaGrange residents would need to vote to either close the school or keep it open. If the residents voted to keep it open, they would be required to pay the operational costs in addition to their annual school assessment.
Wright said Wednesday’s meeting was the board’s first thrust into the budget work. “Everything will be on the table this budget season,” he said, including positions and sharing services.