Residents to vote on dissolving Davidson high school

Updated: May. 2, 2017 at 10:17 PM CDT
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DAVIDSON, OK (KSWO) - Residents in Davidson School District met with school officials on Tuesday night to learn more about a proposal that's on the ballot May 9th. They will cast their vote on whether to get rid of their high school, and make the district a Pre-K through 8th grade only school.

Since their building was established in 1956, Davidson school district has been extremely prideful of their graduating seniors. But if voters say yes for this proposal next Tuesday, the slot for class of 2018 will be left blank.

Davidson Superintendent Phillip Ratcliff laid it all out on Tuesday night. Explaining to Davidson residents the reason for dissolving the high school boiled down to two things: enrollment and money.

"The state's not funding you the way they should, and you're experiencing a declining in enrollment," Ratcliff said. "It's like you're getting hit with multiple bullets at the same time. That's difficult to dodge."

Ratcliff said they lost 3.5 percent of state funding just this year. They have 17 high schoolers enrolled in school this year, but next year it'll go down to ten.

Ratcliff said he has seen a steep decline in enrollment more in the last few years than in the past 44 years he has been with the district.

A lifelong Davidson resident and Davidson alum, Carlene Parris said she is sad to see her school possibly close down.

"It's sad to all of us," Parris said. "All the ones that have come through here, they've lived here, and gone to college. Come out of college and got good jobs."

She said she has seen the decline in enrollment in the district as well.

"The reason I think it has is like most small country towns," Parris said. "When they graduate from high school there is no industry, nothing here for them to get jobs or anything. So, they have to leave here to  get a job, and support themselves and their family."

The students will be transferred to school districts close by, like Frederick. Ratcliff said they'll try to re-assign the teachers to various positions, but it's likely they'll have to quit.

And if this proposal doesn't pass, Ratcliff says there is another way.

"We will have to take a real serious look at shutting the entire school down," Ratcliff said.

And that's not what Ratcliff wants to see while he is superintendent.

"We have good kids, even though we don't have very many," Ratcliff.

That's what Parris says this vote is about, the kids they have left in Davidson.

"We love our school, we love our little town," Parris said. "And we just want what's best for the kids."

The vote is on Tuesday, May 9th.

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