DRACUT -- The School Committee voted unanimously, 5-0, on Monday night to begin the process of closing the Parker Avenue Elementary School by the end of the academic year in June.
In making the motion to close to the school, School Committee member Matthew Sheehan cited the "financial instability" of the district, and dwindling enrollment at Parker Avenue, the smallest of the town's four elementary schools, with a projected enrollment of only 70 students next year.
"This is not an easy thing to do. I understand nobody wants to lose a neighborhood school, but we cannot afford to keep that school open," said Sheehan in addressing his motion.
Sheehan's motion was seconded by board member Joe Wilkie.
Superintendent Steven Stone said all of Parker Avenue's classroom teachers will be retained and reassigned to other schools within the district. By reassigning the school's students and staff, Stone said there will be a dual district-wide benefit of lowered class sizes and improved academic performance.
Also, the closing of Parker Avenue will save about $39,000 in utility costs, Stone estimated.
Humberta Medeiros, one of only a few Parker Avenue School parents in attendance at the meeting, said outside Harmony Hall that she is "livid" with the School Committee for its decision to close the school.
"They haven't heard the last of this from me," said Medeiros. "If we stay here, my child is not going to another public school in this town.
Parker Avenue Elementary School Principal Tamara Hutchins said she had no comment on the School Committee's vote.
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