STOCKTON SPRINGS, Maine — The little-used Stockton Springs Elementary School could be headed for closure.

The school board for Regional School Unit 20, which includes Stockton Springs and Searsport, is expected to decide Tuesday night whether to try to close the school and send the few students that still use it to Searsport’s elementary school.

“We’re trying to keep a sustainable budget in the future and looking for ways to reduce costs,” RSU 20 Superintendent Chris Downing said Monday.

Downing added that the school district wants to decide the issue as quickly as possible, so it knows whether the building will still be in operation as it budgets for the next school year. He said the district could save about $80,000 per year, once the debt service on the building is paid off next year.

Today, the school, which was built to house 200-300 K-5 students, is only used for the district’s pre-kindergarten program and its 36 children.

Downing said there’s enough room in Searsport to house the program, which isn’t expected to grow substantially in coming years based on local birth rates.

Tuesday night’s meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the Stockton Springs town office. A messy winter storm is expected to roll through Maine on Tuesday, so if the meeting is called off because of weather, it likely will be rescheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 31.

Under state law, two-thirds of the board needs to approve of closing the school. The measure will pass if at least four of the five members of the school board vote in favor of closure, but if only three members vote in favor, passage will depend on who those three members are because their votes are weighted based on population of the towns they represent.

The shuttering of the school would still require the approval of voters in Searsport and Stockton Springs, a vote that likely would be scheduled sometime in early April, according to Downing. RSU 20 already applied for Maine Department of Education approval of the closing plan. The education department’s decision should be announced in the next couple weeks.

The board will have to weigh what to do with the building once its future is determined. Downing said they could decide to put it on the market, or lease out portions of the space. As long as the district holds ownership of the building, it will be responsible for maintaining and heating it.

Downing said the student population in RSU 20 has been relatively steady over the past five years, but times have changed since the days when RSU 20 was a much larger district.

“We’ve been seeing less enrollment in the district,” Downing said.

A little over eight years ago, in the fall of 2008, the school had 85 students when Randall Hofland held 11 fifth-graders hostage at the school for about half an hour before he surrendered to police. No students were hurt, and Hofland, who was armed with a gun during the incident, later was sentenced to serve 35 years in prison.

In 2012, Frankfort voted to leave RSU 20 for RSU 22, which included Hampden, Newburgh and Winterport. Two years later, Belfast, Belmont, Searsmont, Swanville and Morrill, voted to leave RSU 20 and form their own district, RSU 71. Northport also left, but it started its own school district.

Follow Nick McCrea on Twitter at @nmccrea213.