Pickett-Center School may soon be annexed to Vanoss School.

The decision came during the Pickett-Center School Board meeting Dec. 14. “The board of education voted unanimously for a resolution to have the community vote for annexation,” said Daniel Pitman, Pickett-Center superintendent. “The vote would either allow or disallow the school to be annexed with Vanoss for the 2011-2012 school year.”

The election from the Pickett community will be sometime between March and April.

Vanoss School Board voted unanimously for the resolution on Dec. 13, Pittman said. A community vote is not required from Vanoss residents.

Pickett-Center School is located in Pontotoc County five miles west of Ada on State Highway 19 in the rural community of Pickett. The school serves grades pre-kindergarten through eighth grade with currently 108 students.

This is not the first time Pickett-Center School has looked at annexation, according to Pitman. “Most of the staff are veteran teachers and have weathered these efforts. But this time it seems different. The state budget, along with a slight decline in students, is now affecting the school,” he said.

“This year the school had a certified staff member retire and did not replace that position. As a result, two grade levels were combined,” Pittman said. “With loss of funding from stimulus money and projections of substantial cuts in state aid, Pickett-Center School will have to look at a reduction in force for at least three teachers. This is a huge loss for such a small school. It would mean combining additional grades and losing elective offerings for students.

“There also seems to be a movement to make things harder for small schools to survive,” he said. “(State) Rep. David Dank (R-Oklahoma City) has filed a bill that if passed, would call for the restructuring of all schools under 500 students.  There are numerous examples of issues that will impact small schools. Just last year, two small K-8 schools were mandatorily annexed.  Just recently Pleasant Grove School annexed to Seminole school for the remainder of the 2010-2011 school year.”

Pickett-Center and Vanoss schools are discussing possibilities and details of an annexation. Pittman said community meetings for Pickett residents will begin sometime in February.

 

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