OLEAN — An emotional board of education ushered in change for the Olean City School District by voting to move away from the neighborhood elementary school model that has so long been at the heart of the district.
The vote came during a special meeting held Thursday night.
In an auditorium packed with concerned parents, students and employees, the board voted 7 to 2 in favor of a plan to close Ivers J. Norton and Boardmanville elementaries by June 30 and see Washington West and East View elementaries closed within three years as the district moves to a single-campus arrangement.
Board members James Padlo and Daniel Harris voted against the motion.
“This, as everyone said, is an impossible situation,” said board member John Bartimole of the decisions the board has had to make to secure a solvent future for the district.
Faced with a $3.4 million budget deficit for the 2012-13 school year — a gap projected to increase to $7.1 million by 2015 without immediate action — the board of education was faced with a tough decision: close the neighborhood elementary schools that often define the community in which they are situated, or eliminate programming that makes a quality education possible for Olean’s students.
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