TRURO - Tanya Harnish began to cry when it was announced last night that a local elementary school will close its doors for good this summer.
Chignecto-Central Regional School Board officials voted last night, after little discussion, to close Bass River Elementary School on June 30, 2013.
"It's devastating. I'm disappointed in this board," said Harnish, of Economy, who has a daughter in the school as well as a daughter in West Colchester Consolidated School, which is the receiving school.
"The elementary school means a lot to our community. We are about to celebrate its 100th anniversary this summer but it won't be open."
Harnish is frustrated that "hundreds of thousands of dollars have to be spent to renovate" West Colchester consolidated in order to accept the elementary students when "that money could have been spent to keep the elementary school open."
It will save the school board about $62,000 to close the elementary school.
Harnish is also upset other schools under review were given a reprieve for a few years but "we didn't get that option," Harnish said, adding she's asking the school board to reconsider its position on Bass River elementary.
Of 17 members, only Susan MacQuarrie, Mackie Ross and Vivian Farrell voted to save the facility.
"I've heard from very passionate, dedicated communities," about keeping schools open, said Farrell.
In contrast, after a lengthy discussion, and much confusion over various motions, it was voted to keep Maitland District Elementary School open until June 30, 2015. Only four members - Gordon Anderson, Jim Grue, Andrea Paul and Glenda Talbot-Richards - voted against the motion.
That motion allows the community the opportunity to develop a community hub plan that may extend the use of the facility in the future as a multiple-use building, including possibly as the elementary school site.
"It's almost a win-win situation," said board member Ron Marks.
Maitland's Judy Burns had mixed feelings about the decision.
"I was personally hoping it would be open for five years. This is a sword hanging over our heads but I'd rather that than closure in June," said Burns whose children are now adults.
Burns also described the process as "flawed" and a "horrible experience."
Other schools decided on last night were Wentworth Elementary School (open until 2014), River John Consolidated (open to 2015) and East Pictou Middle School (will undergo a second review process).
The school board was required by the Department of Education to make a decision on the schools by March 31.