Round Hills and Sheridan elementary schools' days officially are numbered.
That was the decision made by the Williamsport Area School Board Tuesday as it voted to close the two schools following the 2012-13 school year.
After months of presentations, discussions and debates, the board decided that after next year, the final bell will mark the end of the two schools' operations.
"I know this was a very difficult decision," said Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Kelley. "... This is not something that was done lightly."
The board voted 7-2 to close Round Hills and 8-1 to close Sheridan. A motion to close Stevens failed 2-7.
Upon the decision to close both schools, many of the audience members walked out of the meeting in disapproval.
For Holly Miller, of Old Lycoming Township, it was an emotional moment as her home is right next to the school her son attends.
"It's so sad. I'm going to go home and cry my eyes out," she said.
Before the votes took place, board members had an opportunity to make comments on the decision.
"What it comes down to is there's going to be some kind of change," said Karen Harris, board member.
As a large group of parents supporting Round Hills came to the meeting, many board members commended them for their involvement in the process. Board member Jay Shultz said its the parents that are "very invested in the school," that make a school successful.
With the decision weighing on the board for some time, board member Dale Vollman - who voted against closing both Round Hills and Sheridan - said he didn't believe building capacity played a large role in the decision. He pointed out that Round Hills was the better performing school.
Dr. Jane Penman was the other board member to vote against the Round Hills closing.
Her reasoning for keeping Round Hills open was to better distribute the socioeconomically disadvantaged. She also stated that the small, community schools outside of the city are second to none.
"Our best buildings are in our townships," Penman said.
The worry of many was that if their school was closed that they would lose a part of their community. Board member Thomas Zimmerman agreed with a comment from Harris that said the entire district is a community.
"I tend to think the community as the Williamsport Area School District, not as my particular neighborhood," Zimmerman said.
Miller was the lone Round Hills supporter to speak.
And although her children attended Round Hills, she said she didn't want to see any school close.
"I'm for saving Round Hills but I don't think any community school should be torn apart," she said.
When asked how many petitions each of the three schools had received in support of them, Business Manager Jeffrey Richards said only Round Hills - with 188 signatures - handed in any petitions.
After the board made the decision to close the schools, Miller said she will consider placing her children in cyberschool.
Many board members said the success of the transition from the schools depends on the reaction of the parents. They said parents are their children's role models and will look to them for guidance.
Kelley said after the meeting that the emotional response from the parents was expected.
"There's a lot of pride in the elementary school or neighborhood school. It's very difficult (for) individuals," she said. "... It's a very difficult decision for the board members to make."
Kelley added that creating a transition plan is the next step for the district. The district will need to make a plan to not just move students and staff but to move objects each school is going to need.
Board President Lori Baer and board member Jerene Milliken reminded the public that the decision only closes buildings, not opportunities.
"We have fantastic schools no matter where you go," Baer said.
"It's the teachers who make the schools," Milliken said.