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Dugger Residents Try To Save Community School

Dugger Elementary

Photo: Alex Dierckman WTIU/WFIU

Dugger Elementary and Union High are set to close after this school year.

Earlier this year, the Northeast School Corporation in Sullivan County decided they would shut down the only schools in the town of Dugger this summer. Now, some Dugger residents are trying to find a way to keep the schools open.

Resident Stev Hal say Dugger Elementary and Union High are what keeps their tiny southwest Indiana community alive.

“If there’s no school, then the town is eventually going to go away. I’ve seen a lot of little towns you drive through and…it’s kind of sad,” he says.

Dugger parents are weighing two options: either re-opening as a charter school or starting a brand new school district. But in order to form a new district, they’d have to reach an agreement with the school board of their old district — the Northeast School Corporation.

Northeast’s superintendent, Mark Baker, says right now, the board says they are not interested.

“Part of the reasoning behind that is what makes up the Northeast School Corporation- the amount of townships- the corporation would lose the townships obviously and with that would be the tax revenue dollars that would go along with that,” he says.

So instead, school organizers in Dugger are going the charter school route. If a state agency grants the school its charter, organizers plan to focus on both college preparation and vocational training.

Organizers are considering automotive and welding programs as well as partnerships with programs like Carpenter Apprenticeship Training and Future Farmers of America.

The charter application is due this Monday. The group won’t know of the charter’s approval until April.

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