New Hartford school board to close school despite results of ref - WFSB 3 Connecticut

New Hartford school board to close school despite results of referendum

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(WFSB file photo) (WFSB file photo)

The Board of Education in New Hartford moved to stand by its controversial decision to close a school despite the outcome of a referendum.

The board said it will close the Bakerville Consolidated School because of money savings, declining enrollment and safety issues.

The decision was made in December.

Members of the community were upset by the original decision because they said it was made without public input.

Outcry led to a referendum last week during which 72 percent of voters elected to keep the 75-year-old school open. 

The board said regardless, it was sticking by its decision to close it.

"I left the New Hartford Board of Education meeting [Tuesday night] saddened with the what I had witnessed," said First Selectman Daniel V. Jerram. "Deep division within our community and the Board of Education that represents us regarding the Bakerville School closure issue."

Jerram said several attempts were made by board members to try and find a way to restore funding to keep the school open.

"All failed to gain enough votes for approval," he said. "Many residents in attendance were upset with this outcome."

Jerram said in his 20 years of town politics, he never saw a board challenge the public will in this way.

Kindergarten students and first graders will go to New Hartford Elementary School. Second graders will go to the Ann Antolini School, town officials said.

The Bakerville Consolidated School is slated to close at the end of this academic year.

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