Inverkeithing High School is likely to move to Rosyth as land in the town has been approved as the preferred location for its replacement.
The proposal to build the new school in the west of the catchment area, across the M90, will result in fewer pupils being able to walk to school.
A plea was made by parent councils, community councils and community groups in Inverkeithing, Aberdour, Dalgety Bay and Hillend and North Queensferry for the school to stay in Inverkeithing.
But Fife Council’s education and children’s services sub-committee agreed to the recommendation of education officers, who said the Rosyth site presented the best value of the two on the final shortlist. The other option was land north of the A921 in Inverkeithing.
The existing school building on Hillend Road is in poor condition and it is proposed that it is replaced with a new school for up to 2,000 pupils at Fleet Grounds at a cost of £85 million.
Committee chairwoman Fay Sinclair said: “I don’t think any of us underestimate the impact this decision will have but hopefully this will prove beneficial to many, many young people over not just the next few decades, not just years.”
Fife Conservatives education spokeswoman Kathleen Leslie, tried in vain to persuade fellow committee members to choose the Inverkeithing site and said the wrong decision was made.
She said: “The school has been in Inverkeithing for 50 years and is at the centre of the catchment zone.
With this decision they will be back on the buses.”
Councillor Kathleen Leslie
“It is very much a community school and I fear this element will be lost now.
“The majority of the pupil intake is coming from Dalgety Bay and Inverkeithing and will continue to do so for many years.
“Aberdour is going to find itself over six miles from the new school.
“We talk about walking and cycling more, and many pupils from Dalgety Bay are now doing that. With this decision they will be back on the buses.”
Urging the committee to opt for the Rosyth site, SNP councillor for the town Sharon Green-Wilson said the town needed investment.
She added: “The Fleet Grounds option also gives us a very viable proposal to take to the Scottish Government in the hope of securing funding sooner rather than later.”
Douglas Chapman, SNP MP for Dunfermline and West Fife, welcomed the progress towards the new secondary.
He said: “This is an important step on the way to seeing a new high school built to serve the whole bridgehead area.
“Having campaigned for new west Fife high schools for some time I am very happy to see decisions being made to replace an aging school with a brand new education and community facility fit for this century.”
This is an important step on the way to seeing a new high school built to serve the whole bridgehead area.”
Douglas Chapman, Dunfermline and West Fife MP
The number of pupils entitled to school transport would rise initially, said head of education and children’s services Shelagh McLean, but decrease over time with half of the pupils from the west of the M90.
However, she said the extra passengers would be carried by the same number of buses as currently contracted.
Officers were also asked to investigate the potential for retention and refurbishment of popular community facilities at Inverkeithing High School, which it is feared could be lost when a community-use school is built in Rosyth.
Creation of the new school remains subject to acquisition of the land, partly owned by the Ministry of Defence and others, public consultation and planning consent.