Big news out of Newport as the town’s school board voted unanimously Wednesday night to close the Towle School at the end of the current school year. The move comes as an anticipated consequence of the rejection of an $19 million dollar operating budget earlier this month, forcing officials to realign the district’s grading structure among its schools.
According to town statistics, Towle School currently enrolls 131 students including 63 fifth graders and 68 sixth graders. Next year’s fifth-grade class will now attend Richards Elementary School, while sixth graders will be enrolled in Newport Middle School.
The closure is expected to save the district – which was dealt a $17.2 million dollar default budget – an estimated $200,000 annually.
And while the Wheeler Gym will remain open for athletic purposes – most notably varsity basketball games – the 2016-17 school year will mark the first time the Towle School will not be open to students since it opened its doors in 1923.