January 3, 2008

State Considering Closing Down Wyaconda C-I School

The final day of the 2007-08 school year may be just that for the Wyaconda C-I School District. The normal jovial start of summer vacation may be a sad day for the 33 students, faculty and staff at the rural school.

After failing to meet the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s goals for the school, the district has been placed on notice that state action is pending.

Administrator Karla Matlock was informed of the impending action in November. The school then notified staff and district residents that Wyaconda C-I School may be closed on June 30, 2008.

Published reports have noted that dissolution of the school is the likely recommendation to be made by DESE. However, state representatives are planning a public hearing sometime in January to allow district residents to comment on the situation.

The district was given unaccredited status in 2006 after failing to meet state mandated goals in the Annual Performance Report. This year the school earned three of the nine possible points on the APR that includes the state standardized tests. That fell short of the state’s target of four of nine for the school, prompting the action by DESE.

According to the DESE annual report card, the district’s enrollment in kindergarten through eighth grade is at 33 students this year. Those numbers are supported by an annual budget of approximately $575,000, which is comprised of roughly $200,000 in local tax base, $250,000 in state funds and another $100,000 in federal money.

If closed, the district likely will ultimately be added to either the Clark County or Scotland County school districts, or both, which would absorb the Wyaconda C-I district $3.785 million appraised value.

But the district has announced it will not be going down without a fight.

Matlock stated the board has hired an attorney to review the situation.

“The board felt like it owed it to the staff, patrons and most importantly the students to see this thing through to the end to determine if there is anything that can be done to save our school,” Matlock said.

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