CABOT — Cabot voters on Monday decided to keep their high school intact.
During the annual school meeting, residents cast votes by ballot on whether to discontinue high school at Cabot School. Voters opposed the measure 322-147, thereby keeping the status quo.
The district had planned to allow the entire high school student population to go to other schools — public or independent, in Vermont or out of state, depending on what each family wanted — using school dollars.
People packed the school’s gymnasium Monday, with many standing.
Before the meeting, seven high school students lined up outside the school, and several other students soon joined them. Those under 18 were not eligible to voice concerns at the meeting unless the rules were lifted. They also couldn’t vote due to their age.
Kassandra Morse, an 11th-grader at the school, said nearly all students shared the same position on the issue. “It’s a near-unanimous agreement it should stay open,” she said before the meeting.
Ninth-grader Clementine O’Connor agreed and said, “We all have reasons why Cabot isn’t a failing school.”
The issued had heated up for months before the vote, with supporters and opponents placing signs in their yards. Resident Matt Robison said he placed signs for both sides in his yard and agreed with parts of both arguments.
Alumni also attended to show their support, saying before the meeting that the school brought out unique opportunities for both former and current students.
Josh Maxfield, a 2006 graduate of Cabot School, said before the meeting that he has two siblings currently in the high school, another planning to go to the high school, and two others who also graduated. He said his parents want his younger siblings to be able to complete their educations there.
As part of the floor meeting, moderator Ed Smith asked for people to speak for and against the measure alternately. After about three speakers, another resident requested that a vote about the high school closure begin. To end debate, a two-thirds majority was needed.
A show of hands was nearly unanimous; a do-over was called, and the two-thirds threshold was easily met again.
The question asked whether the school board should close the high school before July 1 and provide high school education through other school districts or systems.
Chris Tormey, the school board chairman, said that if the proposal had passed, other school districts would have charged Cabot’s district for tuition for however many Cabot students went there. The district already allows some seven students to attend school outside the district, and about seven non-Cabot residents attend the Cabot school, a process defined by state law, Tormey said.
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