RANDOLPH — Residents of Randolph and neighboring Pittston weighed in Wednesday night on the possible closure of Teresa C. Hamlin School in Randolph.

The public forum, which attracted about 80 people, was part of a meeting of the board of Maine School Administrative District 11, the Gardiner area schools.

The board members did not vote Thursday night, saying they needed more information, particularly about several existing loans on the Hamlin building.

The Hamlin school, as of Dec. 31, had 41 students enrolled, Superintendent Patricia Hopkins said Thursday night.

An ad hoc committee of school personnel, municipal officials, and parents previously voted 9-2 to recommend closure of the school. It was built to accommodate 155 students, but Hopkins said different programs nowadays mean that the capacity numbers are no longer accurate.

The children would attend Pittston Consolidated School instead.

After a 75-minute presentation led by Hopkins, the meeting, which attracted more than 80 people, was open to questions from the public, with people limited to three minutes per person.

For about 90 minutes, attendees asked questions about costs, about what will happen to their children, about class sizes, and about the four-classroom modular proposed to be installed on the property of Pittston Consolidated School.

Kerri Malinowski, of Pittston, and David Cobb, of Randolph, speaking separately, both cited disappointment at limited opportunities for public comment on the proposal.

“It’s disappointing we only get three minutes,” Malinowski said.

Cobb also said his daughter, who attends the Hamlin school, has not wanted to go to school because she’s heard it’s closing and is afraid she will be losing her friends.

Peter Coughlin, of Randolph, said, “There are more valid reasons to keep it open for a few more years.”

Elissa Tracey, of Randolph, who described herself as “de facto PTC president,” said she was disappointed at not being one of the parents chosen to serve on the committee.

One woman, Karen Kidder, said her great-aunt was Teresa C. Hamlin. Kidder said Hamlin had warned residents of Randolph not to join the district because she was concerned Gardiner would take over.

Kidder said she has asked selectmen to look at the cost of leaving the district, which includes the city of Gardiner and the towns of West Gardiner and Pittston, as well as Randolph.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

 

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