WALTON, Kan. (KSNW) — After a three-hour-long debate Monday night, the Newton Board of Education USD 373 voted 4-3 to begin the process of closing Walton Rural Life Center.

Board members who voted to close the school say enrollment numbers were primarily to blame. The district lost 200 kids during the pandemic alone. They went off to other districts.

Board members who motioned against the closing say doing so would be too “hasty,” considering enrollment for kindergarten is just 10 days away from Monday.

KSN News talked to some parents who say the Walton Rural Life Center provided their kids with a unique hands-on experience and an agricultural experience that isn’t found in many other schools. Some say after the decision, they are going to start homeschooling their kids, especially for those students who have developmental disabilities and learning disabilities.