Oldest elementary school in Somerset to close - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Oldest elementary school in Somerset to close

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By: Samantha Lavien

slavien@abc6.com

Twitter: @samanthalavien

Big changes are coming for hundreds of elementary school students in Somerset.

Thursday night the school board voted 4 to 1 to close Wilbur Elementary School.

Friday, there were mixed opinions from parents about the decision.

"It's sad to hear that the school will be closing and we'll have to ship them down to the other end of the street here," said parent Brian Estes.

"The other school they are going to is right down the street so for me it doesn't really matter," said parent Christy Aiello.

"It was a difficult decision knowing that families are being affected by it," said Somerset school committee member Victor Machado.

The closure means the other elementary schools in town will be re-organized which means that more than 300 students will likely be attending a new school next year.

"The Wilbur students will attend South Elementary School in addition some of the South students will remain there. The other portion of South will become Chase which is in the middle of town. And, then just north of Chase will become North Elementary School," said Somerset Superintendent Richard Medeiros.

Shutting down the school will save the town more than a half of a million dollars. The news comes as the town struggles to pay its bills. The town is currently looking to borrow anywhere between $15 and $20 million.

"It is unquestionably the biggest financial problem that we've ever had to deal with but, we do have the people in place to do it," said Board of Selectmen Chair Don Setters.

The superintendent expects the changes in the schools to take place in September. He does anticipate that anywhere between 8 and 10 current staff members may lose their jobs when the schools are downsized from 4 to 3.

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