Greene County School Closing? - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Delaplaine, AR--Brett Garrett Reports

Greene County School Closing?

August 28, 2006 -- Posted at 5:30 p.m. CDT

DELAPLAINE, AR -- Students and teachers in Delaplaine say they have received word that this may be the school's final year.

The Greene County Tech School District has no plans to close the Delaplaine campus this year. However, at their last school board meeting they realized the school's enrollment is down over 45 students. Combine that with a budget crunch and things look dreary for a school that has been a fixture since 1938.

"We knew the Delaplaine School District was operating in a deficit last year, but at that time we were seeing an increase in enrollment and expected to see one this year," Greene County Tech Superintendent Sheila Ford.

Delaplaine's enrollment actually dropped by 18% and on Friday students and staff received the news the school may be forced to closed permanentely.

"We were kind of expecting it, but we always held out hope that we might get to stay," said 11th grade student Justin Carpenter.

Three years ago, the district consolidated with Greene County Tech, but if the doors were to close it would mean a major blow to the town of Delaplaine.

"This is basically all we have left in this community," said school board member Denny Stormes.

If the school is forced to close for the 2007-2008 school year, the people most impacted will be the students.

"There are a couple students that are looking to leave this year, but most of them are going to stay here and try to stick it out," said Carpenter.

The decision hasn't been made to close the campus yet, but students fear the worse.

"I have heard we're gone," said 11th grade student Megan Tyler wearily.

In addition to a declining enrollment and budget deficit, the school is considered an isolated campus, making it hard to attract qualified teachers and offer the students a wide variety of course.

"I think it is time for us to look at what is best for our students. It's going to hurt, but we kind of knew this was coming," said Stormes.

The Greene County Tech School District plans to further discuss the Delaplaine campus issue at their next meeting on September 19th.

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