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By Mike Scott
It’s in the hands of the voters.
On April 8, Wyaconda voters will have the opportunity to determine the fate of their school, which is facing possible closure by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Voters will be asked the question: “Shall the Wyaconda C-1 District be annexed to the Gorin R-III School District effective 1st Day of July 2008.”
The Wyaconda district became unaccredited in May 2006, following action by the State Board of Education, because of consistently low academic performance.
Under state law, if the district does not regain accredited status by June 30 of this year, the school district will “lapse”, and the State Board of Education would have authority to assign Wyaconda’s students to other school districts.
At a public meeting in January, district patrons were told that the state Board of Education would be taking up the issue at its March meeting, but board members have since changed their mind on that.
The reason? The ballot initiative to merge the Wyaconda district with nearby Gorin R-III.
“The state board is not going to take any action at their meeting this week,” said Ron McSorley, DESE Area Supervisor of Instruction. “The department is taking the stance that they are going to wait to see what the outcome of the vote will be.”
“If they vote in favor of merging, then the commissioner feels its the will of the people, and the board will not take any further action,” continued McSorley. “If the vote fails, then the board would take actions, which might include closing the school and assigning those students to another district.”