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School’s Closed. Forever.

Ten-year-old Lola Roske grabbed her backpack and headed to elementary school for the last day of class, the final check on her to-do list before the unstructured bliss of summer.

At drop-off, her mother, Kellie Roske, was determined not to linger. All around her, parents were hugging their children. Teachers were brushing away tears. “I surprisingly held it together,” said Ms. Roske, who for weeks had steeled herself for an “ugly-cry day.” Lola was among the last students to attend Arena Community Elementary.

After classes let out last Monday, the school was shuttered permanently by the River Valley School District, whose administrators say that unforgiving budgets, a dearth of students and an aging population have made it impossible to keep the school open. For the first time since the 1800s, the village of Arena has no school.