The following is an open letter from Superintendent Tyler Broyles on the Cossatot River School District’s website regarding an upcoming school board meeting to hear a recommendation to close the Umpire K012 campus:
“Hello CRSD. Our regular October board meeting will be October 12 at 6:00 p.m. at the Cossatot River Primary School (CRPS) cafeteria located at 122 East Adair Street, Vandervoort, AR 71972. This is a notice in advance that, at the October 12 board meeting, the school board will consider a recommendation to close the Umpire K-12 Campus at the end of this 23-24 school year.
“The recommendation is based on the financial infeasibility of the campus due to its enrollment. Over the last five years, the Umpire campus has lost more than 40 students, which is more than 30% of its enrollment five years ago. Last year, the campus operated with a more than $400,000 deficit due to its average daily membership (ADM) of approximately 92 students K-12. ADM is what funds a school and is the average number of attendance days for a campus. The ADM for this school year is expected to be in high 80s, meaning less revenue, combined with higher expenses, both compiling the amount the district must subsidize to offset the Umpire Campus’ negative balance. By acting now, the district can afford to close the campus and still offer jobs to current Umpire Campus staff at our main campuses in Polk County. Making the recommendation this early in the year will, if the Umpire Campus does close, give Umpire teachers time to find new jobs if they choose, Umpire students time to transfer schools if they prefer, and allow time for CRSD staff to facilitate the logistics of the campus closure. It is only a recommendation to the board at this point, so we welcome all voices to be heard at the board meeting so that the school board can discuss and decide on the matter at the meeting.
“Please note that there are rules that must be followed for anyone who wants to be placed on any board meeting agenda to speak. Copies of the rules can be obtained at the central office or the district’s website. These are board policy rules followed by all school districts. The rules are not specific to CRSD. Anyone who wishes to speak at a board meeting must follow these rules to be placed on the agenda to speak. Anyone not on the agenda who attempts to speak may be denied. Anyone who goes beyond the time allotted or beyond the scope of what was approved may be redirected. Any disruptions will be directed out of the building, although there is no expectation of this. These norms are explained as a courtesy so that everyone knows the expectations ahead of time in the interest of having a productive meeting with voices heard. You can submit your request to speak digitally per the rules by submitting this Google Form (Available on the district’s website) Submissions in person at the central can use this form (Available on district’s website) as an alternative to the digital option. Copies of the paper form will be available at the central office. These are simply two convenient means to submit your request to speak. Other forms of a request to speak in writing will be considered as long as there is sufficient information in the request. Whatever the manner in which it is submitted, the request to speak must be received timely by the central office either using the digital form, paper form, or any other means in writing that contains sufficient information. See the rules linked above for an explanation of the rules in detail.
“This is just a recommendation to the board. The board will make the decision on the matter by a vote after hearing any speakers and having any discussion amongst themselves openly at the meeting. Here are some stipulations if the campus does close: There will be no reduction in force or loss of jobs. All staff members at the Umpire Campus will be offered positions at CRSD. Any overage in staff would be made up through attrition, meaning we will not rehire as staff members leave. CRSD is able to afford this at this time. The Umpire territory would still be part of CRSD. Umpire students who wish to attend another district would go through school choice or legal board transfer. A CRSD bus would still run through the Umpire territory for any students there who choose to attend CRSD.
“Prior to the board meeting, there will be a Zoom meeting offered by CRSD administration on October 10 at 9 a.m. The link to the Zoom meeting is posted below. The purpose of the meeting is to go over answers to any questions submitted ahead of time or any further questions that anyone has at the Zoom meeting. Below you will also find a form where anyone can submit questions before the Zoom meeting if desired. The questions are due by 5:00 p.m. on October 6 to provide time to compile answers.
“Once again, the Umpire Campus closure matter will be heard and voted on by the school board at the regular October board meeting, which is at 6:00 p.m. on October 12 at the CRPS cafeteria located at 122 East Adair Street, Vandervoort, AR 71972. , directly following the annual report to the public, which starts at 5:00 p.m.
“Anyone who has questions about these procedures or experiences any issues with the documents can call (870) 385-7101.
“No one should be left out due to confusion or lack of access, so encourage anyone to reach out to the campus or district for help. It is important that interested community members receive accurate information directly.”