Man, this school is in the process of being reduced to a shadow of it's former self. Title 1 is apparently tied to the the relative prosperity of the community. The official word from the federal level is that the cuts are due to the results of the last census indicating that the need is no longer there, which is a profoundly inaccurate conclusion as anyone in the town knows. There is a high degree of unemployment and underemployment. Two businesses of only a handful in the town have shut down in the last year. Most of the kids are on reduced or free lunch. The cuts were supposed to take place slowly over time, but after a war and a tax cut, well, it's all gone now. All the schools up and down the valley were I live have had anywhere from 40 to 100% cuts in Title 1.
This school is a gem. Little, nestled in a mountain community, 40 some students in PK-7th. Small multi-age classrooms, individual attention, emphasis on the arts, lots of field trips and off campus learning, much effort put into teaching positive social interaction between students, lots of parental involvement, and on and on. Not perfect, but pretty great in the world of public school. Now, the preschool is gone, the incredible, irreplacable art and tech teacher, the music teacher of 12 some years, the field trips, etc. Only two teachers will be left to teach in two classrooms (K-3 and 4-7) with no teachers aides. After next year, the school may have to close and the kids bussed to overcrowded schools in the surrounding larger communities. What a loss. The staff and school board are trying hard to be creative and chase grants, looking into making it a cooperative school, establishing foundation funding, but they are devastated behind the doing-our best-to-remain-optimistic face they put on.
My kids won't be going there next year as DD is moving on to 8th grade and middle school (going from a class of three 7th graders in a podunk town to one of 200 8th graders in a bit larger podunk town-yipes!) DS is returning to homeschooling. So, it is not hitting us that hard personally, but I am still in a state of grief. If you could only sit in the classroom, gaze out the windows at the towering mountains all around, talk with some of the students and experience the sense of community, you would get a sense of what this school is all about, and you would grieve, too.