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Nation’s Rural School Districts Face Risk of Closures

In the past few decades, rural school districts, especially those in the Midwest, Southwest, and Deep South, have been folding their smaller schools into bigger ones because of shrinking state funding, low enrollment, or simply a desire for efficiency.

Students run to the bus on Rte. 1 on their way to the Wellington public school in Monticello, Maine, on June 16, 2014. In the past few decades, rural school districts like the one in Monticello, especially those in the Midwest, Southwest, and Deep South, have been folding their smaller schools into bigger ones. These schools, which are substituted for ones often many miles away, close because of shrinking state funding, low enrollment, or simply a desire for efficiency.

Robert F. Bukaty

Molly Dunn's first grade class recites the Pledge of Allegiance at the Wellington public school in Monticello on June 17.

Robert F. Bukaty

Students' favorite school memories are displayed on a wall at the Wellington public school on June 17.

Robert F. Bukaty

Kindergartner Russell Emery, center, hugs teacher's assistant Ashley Porter on the final day of school in Monticello.

Kindergarten teacher Susan McMann gets a hug from a parent on the final day of school at the Wellington public school on June 17.

Robert F. Bukaty

Students take part in an assembly on final day of school in Monticello.

Robert F. Bukaty

Retired teacher Nancy Wright looks at a sunflower with third-grader Hanna Foreman in the Wellington public school's garden on June 16.

Robert F. Bukaty

Pre-K teacher Crystal Folsom gets a hug from 1st graders on the last day of school in Monticello.

Robert F. Bukaty

Students line up in the hall at the Wellington public school on June 16.

Robert F. Bukaty