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Wearing blinders . . .

The Lowe Down

It’s been a week since school staff were told and word has gotten around town that Central Elementary is closing after this school year. The ranges of responses to the news widely varied from extreme comments to sad thoughts and finally to blame. All responses left me asking myself, “Where have you been?”

This news shocked many, but it shouldn’t have. In the last two public reports in 2017 and 2018, Superintendent Kellee Smith reported that enrollment was down and the situation was turning dire. One economic solution the superintendent proposed was combining all schools on the current high school site saying, “If we could ever get to the point where we could everybody on one campus, then it would save us money.”

In the 2017 public report, Superintendent Smith painted a realistic picture of the past, current and future status of the district. She told how she had a 10-year enrollment projection produced by one of the district’s building consultants. The statistics completed by the consultant revealed that if the downward enrollment trend continues, Corning School District’s enrollment could be down to 423 students. Smith pointblank said, “Corning’s local budget is approximately 7.4 million and the local budget is steadily decreasing each year because of the loss of enrollment.” She expanded on her statement by saying that enrollment determines the district’s funding.

 

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Clay County Courier

810 N Missouri Ave.
P.O. Box 85
Corning, Arkansas 72422-0085
(870) 857-3531