ELLSWORTH — The public has been invited to meet on the steps of the Ellsworth County Courthouse at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 9 to witness the filing of a petition to disorganize the USD 112 school district.
The petition is being filed by a group of Wilson school patrons who are fighting a decision by the USD 112 school board to close Wilson junior/senior high school at the end of the 2022-2023 school year.
At the end of April, members of the group, through their Topeka-based attorney Joshua Ney, gave members of the USD 112 one last chance for a meeting to grant a one-year extension for the closure. In a letter addressed to the USD 112 Central Plains district office, board members were given a May 1 deadline to schedule a meeting. The May 1 deadline passed without a response from the board.
Last week, high school teachers at Wilson were being given a choice to retire, resign or face completion of a non-renewal process by the end of May. The district noted that four teachers from Wilson schools, both elementary and at the junior/senior high school, have resigned or will have resignations accepted at the board’s May 8 meeting.
Per Kansas statute 72-635, whenever a disorganization petition is filed with the appropriate number of signatures, the matter shall be put on a ballot before all voters in the district. If a majority of voters approve the disorganization, the matter goes to the Kansas State Board of Education.
Per statute, a petition to disorganization cannot be put on the ballot between January 1 and July 1 of any year. Primary elections in Kansas are scheduled for August 1.
As a school district, Wilson was founded in 1887 and remained a single-school district until its consolidation into USD 328 with Holyrood, Bushton and Lorraine in 1966.
In 2010, USD 354 Claflin joined the consolidation, which was renamed USD 112 Central Plains.
The USD 112 BOE voted 5-2 to close the building housing grades 7-12 at Wilson on Jan. 9, 2023.