What happens when no one is left to play ball at the local high school?  A friend back east came across a story from a Spokane newspaper.  The subject is the tiny school in Mullan in North Idaho.  The basketball team played no substitutes this year.  Not because the starting five were better.  There’s no bench.

There’s a new and modern building and a new mascot and colors.  I don’t have any personal connection.

Mullan has lost a quarter of its population this century.  The old mining town isn’t alone.  It’s a problem across rural Idaho.  Schools are faced with difficult choices.  Try and hang on or merge with neighbors.

At a state legislative town hall meeting in Twin Falls the subject of mergers arose but didn’t last long.  Schools are community centers as well as the places where our kids go for an education.  Closing some systems sometimes makes sense from an economic standpoint but you can’t find a standard measurement for cultural loss.

My old high school no longer exists.  There’s a new and modern building and a new mascot and colors.  I don’t have any personal connection.

Idaho’s cities are growing and new buildings are going up but across most of the state the only growth is of the ghosts of schools past.