Superintendent Meets With Parents About School Closing
Posted January 16, 2018 2:28 p.m. EST
HARTFORD, Ark. — Hartford parents and students are getting some answers from district officials after the school announced it will be closing at the end of the semester.
In 2015, Hartford joined the Hackett School District on the terms that the school would remain open as long as it was financially sustainable. Superintendent, Edward Ray says financially, it is now impossible.
"The way they went about it was definitely wrong," Kenneth Zachary, parent said. "A lot of parents felt like we weren't even taken into consideration."
Many parents were upset, one mom siding with the district's decision. She was asked to leave the meeting after a disagreement with other parents.
Ray said the main reason for the closure was a more than $1.1 million loss in funding over the past four years.
"The cost of operating the school is more than what we're getting in revenue from the state," Ray said. "Declining enrollment over the past few years has reached a point where it's caused our legal balance to be in the negative."
Buses will still run for students, but parents said they're worried about their kids being on the bus for more than an hour a day.
"I'm able to get [my daughter] up at 6:30 a.m. now to have her ready for school by 7:30," Zachary said. "Now, we're talking about 5:00 in the morning just to have her at the store to be able to catch a bus."
The cost to commute is another worry for parents and some now said there aren't many options left.
"If we're not lucky enough to be one of three percent to have school choice where we can go to Mansfield, the only choice is to sell our house," Zachary said. "Move from the place that we love and have worked so hard to help and move to a new place."
The superintendent said the decision wasn't easy, but with only one school to focus on, the resources can go to the students instead of the school trying to find way to survive.
"It breaks my heart for those students, but at the same time, we're looking forward to what we can do to use the school district's resources to what we already offer and making it better for those students in our schools," Ray said.
Ray said at this time, Hackett does have the room for the new students.
Ray said the other options the district is making available for parents includes applying for a board to board transfer, home-school or virtual school instead.