A southern Maine school district voted Tuesday to close a 38-year-old elementary school but also decided to keep open an older elementary school, which previouslyhad been targeted for closure.

Voting took place Tuesday in the towns of Baldwin and Cornish.

Maine School Administrative District 55’s school board will spend the next several weeks figuring out which schools any affected students will attend next fall.

Cornish Town Clerk Diane Harrington said residents voted 132 to 111 to close Cornish Elementary School. Built in 1976, the grades K-4 school will be permanently shut down June 30.

Baldwin voters, however, took the opposite stance. They voted by a margin of 227 to 199 to keep the 60-year-old Baldwin Consolidated Elementary School open.

The district school board had recommended that both schools be closed in order to reduce education costs and because of declining enrollments across the three-county district, which includes Baldwin, Cornish, Porter, Parsonfield and Hiram.

“It was a close vote. There was a lot of emotion here,” Harrington said Tuesday night after the results had been tabulated.

If Cornish had voted to keep the school open, school officials estimated that Cornish’s local education contribution would have increased by more than $217,000 during the 2014-2015 school year.

Superintendent Carl Landry said the current plan calls for students in grades K-3 to be relocated to the South Hiram Elementary School with fourth-graders attending Sacoppee Valley Middle School.

The Maine Department of Education on Feb. 13 approved closing both schools.

Baldwin’s elementary school will remain open for at least another year at which time the school board will have to decide whether to seek voter authorization to close the school, Landry said.

By voting to keep the school open, Baldwin’s share of local education costs will increase by more than $281,000 in 2014-2015, Landry said.

It also means that the owner of a Baldwin home valued at $150,000 will see their property taxes increase by $286 a year.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

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