HEATH — Faced with declining enrollment and rising per-pupil costs at the Elementary School, annual town meeting voters passed an emotional 94 to 10 vote Saturday in favor of permanently closing the school’s doors.
“We, as a town, are in a difficult situation and we have a really tough decision to make this morning. Through no fault of our own, our school has become too small to create an affordable education,” said Deb Porter, chairwoman of the Heath Education Taskforce, speaking to about 100 residents inside the Elementary School’s gymnasium.
The school’s fate now rests in the hands of the remaining Mohawk Trail Regional School district’s seven other member-towns. A unanimous decision by all district towns is required to move forward. If passed, the amendment will “return this building to the town of Heath as of July 1. It terminates the lease with the Mohawk district, and provides a buyout payment of $240,000 over three years,” Porter said.
Looking ahead, School Committee Member Budge Litchfield noted “the educational task force feels that the best position long term is to put ourselves in a position to join the Hawlemont Regional School District. It’s a change, a painful change, to see our building close its doors — but it also opens a door giving our children a viable educational future.”