WETMORE (KSNT) – USD 113 Prairie Hills has decided to close Wetmore Academic Center at the end of the 2022-2023 school year.
Superintendent Todd Evans released a statement regarding the decision made at the District Board of Education meeting Monday night. He said this has been a long ongoing conversation about the viability of Wetmore Academic Center. Previously there was a public hearing with local families and community members exploring these factors. Evans said the USD113 board ultimately finds these reasons for the closure:
- Declining enrollment at Wetmore Academic Center
- Difficulty distributing resources to all three campuses in a fair and equitable way
- Community challenges of a school closure
“We wrestled for months with the competing factors and values involved in a decision like this, and at no point have we taken this decision lightly. What ultimately boiled down was responsible budget management and our duty to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars for years to come,” said Board of Education Chair Leslie Scoby.
Evans said in the press release that “all interested licensed and classified employees will be offered continued employment at US$113.” Additionally, the council will not lay off any workers as a result of the Wetmore closure. The retirement windows have been extended from 15 to 24 February 2023.
A committee of board members and the superintendent will advise the board on transition issues and plans for the upcoming school year.
In a Feb. 9 statement to the families, Evans acknowledged a community petition filed and approved by Nemaha County to disrupt $113 under Kansas Law 72-365. Evans told 27 News that this petition will not reverse the board’s decision to close Wetmore Academic Center. If 309 people signed this petition, the $113 dissolution would go to a vote in an election this fall.
Evans said in the statement that he has spoken with attorneys for the Kansas State Department of Education who say the law does not allow for partial disruption.
“If the petition is successful, the school district will strive to educate the public about the implications of a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote on the $113 disruption application that will be on the official ballot,” Evans said.