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      Community Involvement Important For Rural Schools

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      Many rural Nebraska schools are facing a decline in enrollment, but one southwest school district says they're just as important as those in bigger communities.

      Hayes Center's overall class enrollment is only 110, with a student to teacher ratio of about seven to one.

      For many parents that would be ideal, but school officials say the perception that smaller schools can't keep up with bigger districts often comes into play.

      Ideally, they say, it's up to the community to keep one step ahead.

      "Ultimately, I think if you look within and realize academically we're doing very well with extra curricular activities programs, we're doing very well. Our board is here for the right reason, which is the kids," said Hayes Center Superintendent Ron Howard. "We want to provide for the kids, and if everyone would just rally together and stick together there's no reason for it to get any smaller."

      Howard adds parental involvement and community engagement meetings can make a difference in how to attract students into these school districts.

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