Delaplaine Holds Hope for School

FEBRUARY 25, 2007 -- POSTED AT 8:00 P.M. CST

DELAPLAINE, AR -- The decision to close the Delaplaine School has already been made. In May of 2004, Delaplaine administratively consolidated with the Greene County Tech School District. At the time, Delaplaine was considered an 'isolated' district and state law allowed the campus to stay open, regardless of their numbers. Since, the laws have changed and it is now up to the school board. In November, the GCT Board voted to close the Delaplaine Campus at the end of this school year. Now, some Delaplaine residents are doing everything they can to keep their school doors open and their community alive.

Phillip and Amy Rothe have 3 children at Delaplaine Schools. Along with the newly formed Delaplaine Community Association, they are fighting to keep their school open.

"The heartbeat, the core of the community is lost when the central gathering place is gone, the place the kids come to," says Amy Rothe.

With their attorney, they're investigating the facts and numbers the Greene County Tech board based their decision on.

"We felt like those facts and figures may not have been fully explained, a full analysis made of it. Therefore, the decision to close might have been based on some misinformation," says Phillip Rothe.

But what about the board representation from Delaplaine?

"We have a representative, but not with the interest of Delaplaine," says Amy Rothe.

When the school administratively consolidated with GCT in 2004, a board member from the Delaplaine district was appointed to serve on the school board. Since, a new member has been appointed but according to Rothe, they live in Walcott which is miles from the Delaplaine School.

Years and years of memories makeup the Delaplaine School, but they say it's their future that they're really fighting for.

"It's frustrating. You don't know whether this is going to be the last ballgame. Is this going to be the last graduation," says Amy Rothe.

As for now, Rothe says they'll just have to wait; wait and see where the destiny of Delaplaine lies.

"We expect that review to take no longer than 30 days. Once that takes place, we will make the decision whether there is a case for litigation or whether it's just time to pack up our bags and say goodbye," says Amy Rothe.

They realize they may lose, but it's a fight they say is worth fighting.

"At the end of this battle, it will be a situation where we can look our children in the eye and say we've done our best. We've done everything we possibly could do to try to save this school," adds Phillip Rothe.

Greene County Tech's School Board said their decision to close the close was based on questionable Delaplaine accreditation and their ability to operate financially. The campus is scheduled to close at the end of this school year.