WEINER, AR (KAIT) - Hopes for folks in Weiner to keep their school were dashed Monday when the Arkansas State Board of Education said no to the Weiner School District's consolidation plan. Now it's back to the drawing board for the school and for the city.
News the school could close a few years ago led some to pull their kids out of school and move away, now there's a fear even more could leave.
"When these small rural communities lose their schools they lose a lot more of the population usually," said Weiner City Council member Tyler Sitzer.
The school is a major employer in Weiner. Events that happen at the school are a focal point for many, even those who don't have children in the district, to be involved in the community.
"This population in this area is just so deep into their school and their education that it's like cutting their head off," said Sitzer.
"We'll be looking at a lot of serious changes for the community, for the children," said parent Gary Sitzer.
Gary Sitzer was at the Little Rock meeting on Monday.
"I graduated from here and two of my children have graduated from here. One of my children is a junior here now. He won't get to graduate here," said Sitzer.
"Several are discussing the home schooling option and others have preferences on different districts around. Some prefer one over another," said Tyler Sitzer.
City Council member Tyler Sitzer worries about the future of Weiner.
"Who would want to put a new business into a city that doesn't have a school and is possibly losing population," said Sitzer.
The loss would also likely impact businesses.
"Some businesses are tied to the land but some of the other ones have a much more difficult time staying," said Gary Sitzer.
Nothing is known for sure about what will happen to the Weiner School. Until a final decision is made Tyler Sitzer said don't give up.
"Hopefully something can be worked out that's more positive. Don't be scattering the children yet wait until we get the state's decision and go from there," said Sitzer.
The Weiner School Board has until March 1st to come up with a new plan. A school board meeting in Weiner is scheduled for Friday.