Mishawaka parents and community members are rallying to keep Hums Elementary open as district officials debate cost-saving measures in the wake of a failed referendum.
“Why Hums?” Melissa Buraczewski, a parent there, said. “Our teaching staff is great. We’re consistently an A (rated) school. … Our parents are willing to give time and money to the school.”
The answer to that question, Superintendent Terry Barker said, is the cost of the essential work that needs to be done to the school. It far outweighs that of the district’s other elementary schools.Heating system costs have been pegged at about $257,000 for Hums, Barker said.
But it’s asbestos in the building, which became more of a concern in the summer when new cracks began forming in the ceiling of the library and commons areas, that tops the to-do list for both cost and necessity.
The asbestos is contained, Barker said, and doesn’t pose a health risk. But completely removing it and repairing the ceilings, the superintendent said, would cost $510,000.
The School City of Mishawaka has lost almost $600,000 to property tax caps.
District officials say closing Hums Elementary would save roughly $10 million over the next six years. They’ll consider all the options at a February meeting.