Board Votes to Close Sullivan County High School

Board Votes to Close Sullivan County High School

In a 3-2 vote Monday night, the Northeast School Board voted to close Union High School and Dugger Elementary at the end of the 2013-2014 school year. The decision comes after tough financial times for the school corporation.

A Sullivan County high school and elementary are closing at the end of the 2013-2014 school year.

The decision comes amid a tough financial situation for the Northeast School Corporation.

A 3-2 vote from the school board Monday night sealed the fate of Union High School and Dugger Elementary.

"I feel like a group of people have made a vote here that's impacted a lot of families and impacted a community and a bunch of children that's not correct," said Greg Ellis, a Union High School parent.

The decision comes after the corporation conducted a feasibility study. The study found each student at Union High School cost the corporation over $9,000 a year. Northeast only receives $6,000 a year per student from the state.

"We've come to the point where we have to make some drastic decisions. I don't think the board when they took on this role when they were elected were out to do this. I think as they've seen the numbers and have gone they felt like they had to do something," said Dr. Mark Baker, superintendent of the Northeast School Corporation.

The Northeast School Corporation will now undergo a complete restructuring. They will be left with two elementary schools, Hymera and Farmersburg. Shelburn Elementary will be converted into a middle school for grades 6 through 8. North Central will be the lone high school.

"It breaks my heart. I've lived in Dugger all my life. In the high school alone I've got four kids going to Union High School. If thy stayed in Northeast I would have four kids in three different schools in three different towns next year," said Ellis.

Save UHS is a group committed to keeping Union open. They polled families around Dugger and found 95 percent of the families said they would leave Northeast School Corporation.

"Hopefully with time, time heals most wounds, and hopefully we'll be able to bring them back with the curriculum we'll be offering," said Dr. Baker.

"You know, we feel it isn't over," said Ellis.

Ellis says now Save UHS will be seeking legal action against the Northeast School Corporation. Dr. Baker says the corporation hopes to have a plan for moving forward very soon.

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