Indiana

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Trib-Star: Cash-Strapped District Votes To Shutter Dugger’s Two Schools

Advocates for closing Union Junior-Senior High School and Dugger Elementary, left, sit on one side of the North Central High School gym during a Northeast School Corporation meeting on November 25. On the other side sit members of the Save Union High School group.

Elle Moxley / StateImpact Indiana (File)

Advocates for closing Union Junior-Senior High School and Dugger Elementary, left, sit on one side of the North Central High School gym during a Northeast School Corporation meeting on November 25. On the other side sit members of the Save Union High School group.

Barely a week after 700 bitterly-divided residents gathered to weigh in on a controversial reorganization plan, The Tribune-Star in Terre Haute reports the Northeast School Corporation board voted 3-2 on Monday night to close the two schools in the rural southwest Indiana town of Dugger.

Union Junior-Senior High School and Dugger Elementary will close at year’s end, writes Sue Loughlin:

The board met on Monday at North Central, with an estimated 500 people attending. The school district again had heightened security because of the emotion and volatility related to the controversial school closings.

Even before the board was finished with its series of motions, Union/Dugger supporters started leaving the meeting en masse, with some hurling angry comments at the board and those supporting reorganization…

Greg Ellis, a spokesman for Save UHS (Union High School), said after the short meeting, “They voted like we expected them to. This was no shock”… The decision to close the two schools “breaks my heart,” Ellis said. “I’ve lived in Dugger all my life.” He has four children attending Dugger schools and if they stay in the Northeast district next year, they would attend three schools in three different towns…

Leslie Hawker, spokeswoman for Save NESC (Northeast School Corp.), said the vote to close Union/Dugger and move forward with reorganization “was a very brave decision on the board’s part. They really took into consideration what would be best for the corporation, not what would be best for them personally.”

The district’s superintendent has said Northeast School Corporation has lost $1.8 million in state funding over the past five years, the Trib-Star previously reported.

As Ellis hints at — and we reported last week — many of the 341 students who attend Dugger’s two schools say they’ll likely leave for other districts after the schools close.

The Northeast School Corporation’s only remaining high school, North Central, is a nearly-20 mile drive from Dugger. But Linton High School, part of another school corporation, is not even seven miles away.

More on the story here.

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