WILSON, Kan. (KSNW) — The USD 112 Central Plains Board of Education (BOE) voted to close Wilson Junior/Senior High School on Monday.
According to the resolution, the reasons for closing include the financial condition of the district, the district’s need to reduce expenses, and the district’s need to gain those efficiencies which can be gained by closing a building.
“I think it was a hard decision for the board,” Interim Superintendent Bill Lowry said. “It affects a lot of people. I think they had determined financially for long-term goals to make sure the district could stay viable.”
Lowry says the district will provide busses to Central Plains in Claflin, which is about 25 minutes from Wilson and 35 minutes from Dorrance.
Students can apply to go out of the district.
“That would be between the student and the school, the other school district,” Lowry said.
Some in the Wilson community are upset with the decision. Wilson Mayor Michael Peschka says the general consensus is they didn’t feel like there was transparency or discussion in a public forum.
“My first thought was, ‘Oh man, how is this going to affect Wilson as a whole,'” 2005 WHS alumnus Cole Frimmel said.
He added that the teachers he grew up with in Wilson were great, and the small town is like a family.
Mayor Peschka said the impact of this decision is huge.
He says the impact is huge for different reasons – one being you lose that sense of pride in the school but also economically. He added Dorrance and Wilson have grown to become a single community.
As for the employees at Wilson Jr./Sr. High School.
“That plan has to be developed on needs and so forth,” Lowry said.
Lowry said the unaudited enrollment this year is 73 for 7th-12th graders.
In the board meeting Monday, a community member said Wilson is growing. So, we asked for the previous year’s enrollment numbers. But Lowry said those are not available today.
Regardless, Peschka remains optimistic.
“Wilson is a very resilient community,” Peschka said. “So this is not the end of Wilson. It’s hopefully a new beginning of some type.”