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SMACKOVER, Ark. (AP) - The State Board of Education has approved the voluntary annexation of the Norphlet School District into the Smackover School District.

The board approved the plan after hearing no opposition at a meeting Thursday in Little Rock. The merger is effective July 1.

The consolidation came about because Norphlet's enrollment is declining and nearing the state minimum of 350 students.

Smackover Superintendent Dave Wilcox says the schools will continue to operate in both towns for the 2014-2015 school year, with the school names and mascots remaining the same. Wilcox tells the El Dorado News-Times that Norphlet students will be eligible to participate on Smackover teams in extracurricular activities not currently offered at Norphlet.

He says more changes will be visible during the 2015-2016 school year.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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