Petition organized in fight to keep high school open in Wilson

A group from Wilson isn’t giving up in the fight to keep the town’s high school open.
Published: May. 9, 2023 at 4:06 PM CDT
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ELLSWORTH, Kan. (KWCH) - A group from Wilson isn’t giving up in the fight to keep the town’s high school open. The group held out hope the district would allow the school at least one more year of funding. That didn’t happen.

In January, the school board in the Central Plains district voted to close Wilson’s junior and senior high school, citing financial issues. Despite opposition, the school board did not change their decision to close the school at the end of the year.

“Unfortunately, there was no extension granted,” said Roberta Meier, among those concerned who live in the Central Plains school district.

An effort is underway to file a petition with Ellsworth County to disorganize the school district. This means schools, including Wilson Junior/Senior High School could be absorbed into surrounding districts.

“It means parents in the community will have closure on all sides of the district,” Meier said.

Some in Wilson say moving forward with disorganization is the only way for their voices to be heard.

Central Plains, USD 112 school board member Roger Robinson, from Wilson, said the petition was the last resort in the effort to save the school.

“First of all, it’s really sad that we’re in this situation, but we didn’t create the situation. We’re just reacting to it,” he said.

Robinson said the school closure decision happened due to a lack of communication.

“We’ve got five members on the school board and not one of them live in Wilson, not one of them go to church in Wilson, not one of them shop in Wilson or socialize in Wilson, and they’re making a decision for our community that will impact us forever,” he said.

In the coming months, a special election vote will decide if the district disorganization goes through.

“There’s a lot of questions that need to be answered yet, for the voters,” Meier said.