LITTLE ROCK, AR - For the past few years in the Cutter-Morning Star School District, the math hasn't added up in their favor. Cutter-Morning is located in Garland County.
"We've got to get people to understand that we need the kids to stay," said Lance Robinson, the district's superintendent.
Superintendent Lance Robinson said students are leaving the district, which translates to fewer dollars from the state.
"Some of those graduated with larger classes, we haven't replaced them with classes in kindergarten that size. People aren't having as many kids," said Robinson.
That's the reason they're now classified as fiscally-distressed. State figures show in the past three years, leaders have spent more than $360,000 of their reserves.
It's a growing problem for many rural districts.
"Their geographical location is not as conducive to building homes as like Lake Hamilton or Lakeside people want to live around the lakes," said Dr. Tom Kimbrell, commissioner for the Arkansas Department of Education.
To stop the massive spending, the district is required to come up with a plan to cut costs. Leaders plan to cut in transportation, and they won't rule out laying off teachers.
Kimbrell says that's the tricky part.
"You've got to continue at the high school, elementary and middle school to meet standards," said Kimbrell.
While school leaders say the fiscally-distressed label could drive more students away, Robinson says no need to worry.
"We're not going to sacrifice what we have to teach so that's not even an option so we're going to continue to teach what we're required to teach," said Robinson.