Future of Westford school up in the air - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Future of Westford school up in the air

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Is a Vermont public elementary school going private? That was the topic of discussion at town meeting in Westford Monday night.

Although community members thought they would be voting on keeping Westford Elementary doors open, the night became a larger discussion about options for keeping the local school afloat.

It was a packed house at the Westford Elementary School. The original petition last month suggested closing the public school to reopen privately. On Monday though, people voted that a decision be put on hold and instead create a committee to look at a variety of options for the school's future. Many who spoke in favor of the petition say increasing property taxes and declining student enrollment add to a list of factors that are making it hard for the school to make ends meet. Those in opposition, say the public school should stay that way to ensure equal education for every child in town.

"The petition was started to see if there was broad support for looking at alternatives, looking at changes, looking at anything we can do. Because we are committed to having a school in Westford and that's how this started," said Sue Conklin who supports the petition.

"This petition that showed up was surprising; it came at the very last minute before the town report was printed. It was shocking I think to everyone in the community. And at first it was disturbing because it appeared that they would be able to close the school," said Chris O'Donnell, who opposes the petition.

The town voted to form the committee in the next six months to begin researching what is working and not working for the school, and what options are out there.

This item was passed as non-binding, meaning the school board isn't required to make this committee, it is only a suggestion from the community.

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