Residents in Dugger continue to gain support for their new community school, as the Indiana Rail Road pledged a $50,000 donation earlier this week.
INRD’s donation is contingent upon the school’s ability to raise a sum-total in matching grants, or find a donor willing to fully match the $50,000 pledge. The money will help cover operational expenses and extracurricular activities.
INRD President and CEO Tom Hoback says Dugger is an important anchor for the company and its customers.
“Many of our employees and families live there, many generations have attended Union High School,” Hoback says. “I know it hasn’t been an easy year for Dugger parents and volunteers, but I’m proud and happy to see their efforts come through.”
Hoback says INRD is also pursuing options, along with partner Peabody Energy, the local carpenters union and other local employers to provide in-class training for Dugger-Union students who wish to pursue a career in vocational trade industries.
Dugger, a town of about 900 in Sullivan County – the heart of INRD’s 500-mile operating territory – faced a threat to their town’s schools last winter, when the Northeast School Corporation board voted to close for budgetary reasons.
Parents have worked ever since to sustain a school in their town. Despite the Indiana Charter School Board turning down their application, the community succeeded in establishing a partnership with the Indiana Cyber Charter School.
As we reported last week, the group gained access to the old Union High and Dugger Elementary School buildings.
Although staff will be on hand, Indiana Cyber will primarily provide virtual instruction, and therefore will not be responsible for funding building maintenance or extracurricular activities. That’s where donors like INRD come in.
The new Dugger-Union Community Schools will serve grades K-12. Classes start August 25.