Residents of North Bennington are voting today for a third time on whether to close their public grade school.
The move to close the school is backed by the North Bennington School Board, or prudential committee. Supporters hope to start an independent academy, called the North Bennington Village School, in the old public school building.
Board chair Ray Mullineaux says many in town fear that financial pressures from the state, and low enrollment, could force the school to close.
"The basic value here," Mullineaux says, "is that this community depends on this school and it makes this community what it is and it needs to be maintained."
A measure to close the school at the end of the 2012 school year was approved at town meeting last March.
That date had to be postponed after the state Board of Education tabled the application for the new, proposed Village School. So in October, North Bennington had to vote again on closing the public school, this time in 2013.
The move was approved a second time, but by a smaller margin. Residents opposed to "going independent" petitioned for today’s re-vote.