FARRIS, OK - A school in Oklahoma is on the verge of closing its doors. But the community is stepping up to keep that from happening. Money and enrollment are the problems in Farris, and Mystic Matthews tell us how the community is making up the difference.
Farris Public School started the year with the lowest enrollment of its more than 20 year history. It’s a school that faculty and students are proud to be a part of and don't want to see the doors shut for good.
Farris School, miss the sign and you might never even know it's there. But the 600 people living in the community know it and Bonnie Phillips, a teacher and parent, says they are proud of their school. “We are family, we love and take care of each other and work through problems because we are small and have the love."
Farris has five teachers and 70 students, pre-k through 8th grade. Superintendent, Principal and Coach Brian Walker says that number is huge compared to the number of kids they started with in August. “We started this year with 49 students which is the lowest it's ever been over the last 20 years.”
Parents, school board members and teachers all say Farris is the best school around, so they don't know why kids are going elsewhere.
And since the state of Oklahoma pays schools according to the number of children enrolled, Farris needs more kids in order to stay open. So Tuesday, educators held an open house for the community because come this May, the community has a decision to make.
Walker says, "The vote is May 13th. If the resolution passes, Farris will be annexed in Lane and become property of Lane Public Schools."
Walker says he's optimistic that the school will remain open. “They have really been supportive of me and the situation in general. This community has stepped up to keep this school open and operational."
Farris residents say they believe in the education their kids are getting and hope others will recognize it as well. Phillips says, “Your school is your heart and if you lose your school, you lose your community.”
And their goal is to soon have a waiting list for students to get in. “When it comes right down to the end result, this is by far the best place there is. When it comes to your child being loved and welcomed and not getting lost in the system, this is the place."
Walker says if the community votes not to shut down the school, they will and continue until money runs out or more students enroll.