Section 6. If a town of less than five hundred families or householders, according to such census, does not maintain a public high school offering four years of instruction, it shall pay the tuition of any pupil who resides therein and obtains from its school committee a certificate to attend a high school of another town included in the list of high schools approved for this purpose by the department. The department shall approve the high schools which may be attended by such pupils, and it may, for this purpose, approve a public high school in an adjoining state. Whenever, in the judgment of the department, it is expedient that such a pupil should board in the town of attendance the town of residence may, through its school committee, pay toward such board, in lieu of transportation, such sum as the said committee may fix.
If the school committee refuses to issue a certificate as aforesaid, application may be made to the department, which, if it finds that the educational needs of the pupil in question are not reasonably provided for, may issue a certificate having the same force and effect as if issued by the said committee. The application shall be filed with the superintendent of schools of the town of residence, and by him transmitted forthwith to the department with a report of the facts relative thereto.