The Northeast Kingdom town of Concord will close its high school at the end of this term. More than half of all registered voters weighed in on an issue that has deeply divided the town for many years.
Pressure to close the high school came from people who believe students would be better served by using tax dollars to attend other, larger schools, including St. Johnsbury Academy. They will now be able to make those choices, now that the local school is closing. But outside the yellow frame municipal building on Route 2, Barbara Olden said she voted to keep the doors open in Concord because it’s been a good school for her, her children, and her seven grandchildren.
“The teachers are wonderful. It’s very hard to keep good teachers because they keep doing this; this is very stressful to the students, the school and the town,” Olden said.
But Olden and 209 others who opposed closure did not get their way. There were 285 votes to shut down the high school. Budget projections show that will not appreciably lower the tax rate, because the town still needs to pay tuition for students who will attend other schools. So Town Clerk Donna Berry thinks this decision may have been as much about school choice, as about education costs.