The Cossatot River School Board voted Thursday night, Oct. 12 in favor of a recommendation to close its Umpire K-12 campus by the end of the 2023-2024 school year, according to reporting by kdqn.net out of De Queen.
In a 4-2 vote, the board approved a recommendation by Superintendent Tyler Broyles to close the Umpire campus due to low enrollment and what he called an increasing financial burden on the Cossatot River School District as a whole.
“It’s very much a tough decision to have to make,” said Broyles. “We’re just seeing enrollment not increase and now we’re at a point where the district as a whole is having to subsidize the Umpire campus a great deal, close to half a million dollars last year. Sadly, it’s reached a point where we have to do what’s in the best interest of the district and recommend closure. After the last two years we’ve done everything we could.”
The school board meeting included a group of residents from the Umpire community who expressed their hope to keep the campus open, kdqn.net reported.
Following the vote Thursday night, the measure to close the Umpire campus will now go before the state board of education for a final vote. Broyles said that meeting is expected to take place this fall.
If approved by state officials, the Umpire campus would cease to operate by the end of the current school year. Broyles said the district is making plans to incorporate the teachers employed at Umpire throughout the rest of the district. Staff overage would be addressed through attrition, i.e. not hiring new teachers once current educators leave or retire.