Budget shortfall could close Yarnell's only school - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Budget shortfall could close Yarnell's only school

A year after the deadly Yarnell Hill fire, the tiny town continues to rebuild. But not everything is the same. Some businesses have closed and now the only school there might not open this fall.

Model Creek School lost about half of its students after the fire. So the state cut funding. Now the school board has to decide whether or not to close the school or raise property taxes by 50 percent in order to make up a $700,000 deficit.

Superintendent Fred Garnett found out about the shortfall less than a week ago.

Since then he's cut three full-time positions, the schools only athletics coach and a part-time teacher.

All other employees took a hefty pay cut. Garnett even slashed his own salary by $33,000.

But in order to keep the school open for its 31 students, the school needs support from the community, something many can't afford.

"Most people who live here are on a fixed income. I understand kids need an education. I'm not against that but I think they need to work on consolidating," said Regina Teets.

Ben Palm has three kids who attend Model Creek. He said bussing his young children to schools up to an hour away and not having any control over the education doesn't seem like a viable option.

"You have to look at the big picture and not just money," said Palm.

The school board will vote on Thursday whether or not to close the school.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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