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Orange school board votes to close Butterfield, consolidate

The Orange Elementary School Committee voted Tuesday to close Butterfield Elementary School.

The school will be consolidated with Dexter Park School in Orange to trim the school’s budget by almost $300,000 before the budget is brought before the town at the annual meeting Monday.

Consolidating the schools will save money in terms of electricity, heating, maintenance and some jobs. The number of teachers would remain the same. Cuts would be made in jobs related to secretaries, custodians and nurses, according to a handout distributed by Superintendent Tari N. Thomas. Keeping the school open would mean cuts to enrichment programs like art, music and physical education — areas that have been returned to the schools recently from being cut back in 2010.

The motion made and approved by the School Committee was to go from three schools down to two, Dexter Park and Fisher Hill, for a maximum period of two years, pending the acceptance of the Massachusetts School Building Authority to move forward in working with the town to build a new elementary school that would house all three current schools.

Orange is in the beginning stages of working with the MSBA to make this happen.

Thomas has said that she was considering the consolidation, but for the 2016 school year. The consolidation idea was recently brought up by Selectman Kathy Reinig at a meeting and was proposed for this coming September. Voted and approved at Tuesday night’s meeting, the consolidation will be fast-tracked as plans to eliminate Butterfield Elementary School take hold and Fisher Hill School and Dexter Park will be the only Orange Elementary Schools open in the fall.

On Twitter, follow: @RecorderTPC

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