RANDOLPH — Members of a committee considering the future of the Randolph elementary school heard overviews of two scenarios Monday, but they are still gathering information before developing a recommendation for the School Administrative District 11 board.

Earlier this fall, the inability to replace a teacher who left not long after the start of the school year meant that students in a combined grade were transferred out of the Teresa C. Hamlin School, leaving fewer than four dozen students in a school with a capacity for nearly four times as many.

One option is moving the T.C. Hamlin students to Pittston Community School, and the other is designating the Pittston Community School for kindergarten through second grade and T.C. Hamlin School for third through fifth grade.

The first option would increase the student population in Pittston to 240 and is likely to require the district to install a four-classroom modular unit at a cost of about $425,000, including projections of hooking the building up to utilities.

The second option would put about 115 students in Pittston and a 125 in Randolph. It would also require some extra expense and logistics in making bus schedules work.

Earlier this month the committee, made up of school district administrators, teachers, parents, and local officials, met for the first time to start work on understanding the implications of closing Randolph’s elementary school.


At that meeting, nearly two dozen town residents watched the work; these ad hoc meetings have no provision for public comment.

At Monday’s meeting, only four residents attended.

Whatever the committee recommends, members are grappling with falling enrollment across the district. According to SAD 11 statistics, district enrollment has fluctuated since 2008, but overall the numbers have declined.

Randolph enrollment, by contrast, has dropped each year and now makes up a smaller percentage of total district enrollment. In 2008, Randolph’s 284 students were nearly 13 percent of the total district student population of 2,189. In the current school year, Randolph’s 174 students are 8.5 percent of the district population of 2,037.

As the enrolled population drops, so does that state’s subsidy to the school district.

“If we’re going to have a bigger conversation, how do we involve Gardiner and Pittston parents?” district Superintendent Patricia Hopkins said.


Hopkins recommended putting the topic on the agenda for the Dec. 7 school board meeting.

At the committee’s next meeting on Dec. 18, members are expected to hear more detailed information on the estimated savings to the school district if T.C. Hamlin were closed as well as what could be done with the building in that case.

If school officials determine the school is not needed, they must follow a detailed procedure spelled out in state law that includes a projection of student numbers in the next five years in the affected area, a projection of the educational programs they would need and show how the affected students would be educated, among other things. If any financial commitments tied to the school in question exist — debt service, for instance — they have to be disclosed. District officials must also present the financial impact of closing the school building and have a statement of reasons for why the school building is being closed.

If the recommendation is to close the school, that decision would have to be made before the district’s budget planning is completed in the spring for the process to be set in motion for the next school year.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632


Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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