Community Works to Save Midland School District

January 28, 2006 -- Posted at 10:24 p.m. CST


PLEASANT PLAINS, AR -- With the threat of closure looming over the Midland School District in Independence County, the community is coming together to try to save their school.


Earlier this month, the Arkansas Department of Education dismissed the school board for Midland schools and replaced the superintendent.


Now the community has banded together, searching for a way to save their school.


“Our community always sticks together and pulls through, and we're going to show everybody in all the small schools that we can save our school.  We're going to raise the money and we're going to pay off our schools debt,” said Brooke Clark, one of the parents responsible for this endeavor.


The debt Mrs. Clark mentioned:  over $300 thousand dollars that the school will owe the state by the end of the year.


This community decided last week to raise money to save their school and are doing very well so far.


“Our goal is 400,000 dollars, and so far we’re up to $217,000.  We have until February third,” said Clark.


Even then their efforts may not be enough. 


“There's no guarantee that if we even raise the money the state will accept it.  The only guarantee we have is if we don’t try, we will never succeed,” said Brandon Bowren.


Parents in the community say the decision to close the school is not based on the education their children are receiving.  It's simply mismanagement of funds.


Consolidation is nothing new to this area.  Back in the mid 80’s the communities of Floral and Pleasant Plains came together to form Midland Schools.  They came together then and they don’t plan on separating now.


“I don’t want to lose the school, and I know we're not going to lose the school because the community is coming up and helping us,” said Midland student Kayla Bowren.


Donations from the community are the only thing students here are depending on; even donations from students.


7th grader Jon Farrar has been saving money for three years to go to see the New York Yankees play in their home stadium. 


The decision by the state to close the school has changed that.


“When we found out that our school was going to be closed if we didn’t have the money I decided to donate the $1,000 we had saved,” said Farrar.


Jon says he loves the Yankees but he loves his school more.


“We're not just classmates at Midland we're a family,” said Farrar.


There are still many opportunities to donate to keep Midland alive.  A rodeo and auction will be held on January 29th in Pleasant Plains to raise money.


Donations are also being accepted at Citizens Bank in Batesville and Pleasant Plains under the “Midland: Save Our Schools” account.


For the statement from the Arkansas Board of Education about Midland School District go to their website: