Sunderland Residents Voice School Closure Concerns

06/01/05 12:00AM



(Host) Residents of Sunderland will vote next week on whether to close their elementary school.

The vote was forced by a petition circulated by a group called the School Choice Committee.
Schoolboard member, Wieland Ross, is among them. He says the school, which has only sixty students, is too small.

(Ross) "This group is committed to the idea that school choice is the best solution for the educational problems that Sunderland confronts, and will be a better deal for the students. We think there'll be some kind of a savings. The other side says there won't. But the bottom line is that the real issue here is not money."

(Host) Ross says students will have more opportunities if the town pays their tuition to attend larger schools in nearby towns.

At an emotional meeting last night, many people, including a majority of the school board, argued that the school should stay open.

Karin Nicholson is a Sunderland parent.

(Nicholson) "None of this school choice committee has been in to visit our school and observe what's going on here. And we all feel strongly as parents that there's really great things gong on here. And our children are thriving."

(Host) School officials say the petition to close the school came as a surprise. The idea has been studied in the past, but not recently. Officials say that even if the school is closed, the town is still responsible for transportation and special education.

The vote takes place on June 8th.

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