January 24, 2002

Wyaconda District Considering Plan To Close High School

A special board meeting January 28 could decide the fate of the Wyaconda C-I School District. Patrons of the district had come together January 16 in an open forum meeting held by the school board to discuss issues surrounding the school.

Topics of discussion included the school's declining high school population, which has dwindled to 36 students, a decline of 13 students from six years ago.

Another main topic was the cost of education at Wyaconda C-I where an estimated $9,200 is spent per pupil compared to the state average of $6,800. That has resulted in Wyaconda having one of the highest tax rates in the region.

Other issues the school faces is a difficulty to attract and retain teachers due to low salary schedules compared to other districts.

All of these problems wait in the shadow of the upcoming Missouri School Improvement Program school assessment that is scheduled for the 2002-2003 school year. The district currently is one of only 35 schools in the state (524 state public schools) that is on provisional status as far as accreditation.

"We all recognize change is difficult and sometimes wish things could remain the same," said Superintendent Scott Rigg in a letter to the patrons of the district. "There is nothing 'wrong' with our school or it's employees, however, we realize there is more out there for our high school students and we are not performing our duties if we fail to make the public aware of it."

The district appears to be leaning toward making the transition into a kindergarten through eighth grade facility similar to Gorin R-III. That would mean students in grades 9-12 would then go to a neighboring district, either Clark County or Scotland County R-I as tuition students, paid for by the district.

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