The End of an Era

Concord school closing2CONCORD - After 15 years of going back and forth to the polls, there is a new result in the Concord High School debate about whether to keep the school open or to close it down.  The most recent decision is leaving a lot of students and parents upset. 

On Tuesday, April 28th, the town of Concord voted yes to closing the high school. With a 75 vote difference, 285 people voted to close and 210 people voted to keep it open.  It seems surprising that after so many years, those who have been against the high school staying open have finally won the vote. 

This debate has been going on since 1990, when the town voted to tution out students with a vote of 158 yes to 214 no. The same vote occured again twice in 1992 resulting in two no majority votes.

It was then two years later in 1994, when the residents went back to the polls to vote on Concord, but this time the decision being made was whether or not to close the school.  And that debate has been ongoing since then, with results that have been fairly consistent.  Donna Berry, Concord's town clerk, went through the town reports and was able to provide the history of the vote.

March 1994       yes 219, no 246
June 1995         yes 222 no 303
August 1995      yes 201 no 231
August 1995      yes 170 no 264
October 1996    yes 181 no 249
October 1996    yes 85   no 318
March 2010       yes 158 no 192
March 2011       yes 197 no 214
March 2012       yes 252 no 275

"This is one of the biggest turn outs we have had in a long time, but also one of the biggest margins in this vote. Typically it's been 17, 25. That range, 75 is a rather large margin. It speaks to the will of the town," said Brian Rayburn, Superintendent of the Concord School. 

Not many people would speak about their reactions to the closing of the high school. While one resident said that many people will not speak on it because of how raw and sudden the news of the closing is, another resident spoke honestly about what she voted for.

"I did vote to close, and I'm not afraid to say it," said Sharlene Corliss a resident of Concord. "I think that the children have a right to go somewhere else if they want, and that the town should support that."

No news stations were allowed on the schools property in respect of students and teachers who were upset by the vote. Rayburn was in meetings today discussing the future of the students in the high school. He said that students will have the choice to go to different high schools, including St. Johnsbury Academy, Lyndon Institute, and Littleton High school.