DUGGER, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Almost seven years ago, the Dugger community had to battle to save its school.
The Northeast School Corporation closed the school due to budget reasons.
Without a school, Principal Darin Simpson had to look for options in order to reopen the school.
“You know we had to try to find a way to stay open,” Simpson said. “The avenue to do that was the public charter school route.”
This process hit an early road block.
Their application was denied by the Indiana Charter School Board. Simpson believed this is due to the urgency of the application. A process that normally takes years was sped up to eight months.
The news was hard for current elementary Principal, Stephanie Kinnett.
“I think the community had gone into a grieving period,” Kinnett said. “If we lost the school, we were afraid our town would end up dying along with it.”
Simpson said that he almost lost all hope of reopening the school.
“I remember driving back from church on a Sunday afternoon,” Simpson explained. “I told my family that we really need to think about where we’re going to go to school because we don’t have a school in Dugger right now.”
However, the summer before the start of the 2015 school year, Dugger Union struck a charter agreement with Grace College that would allow them to reopen.
Kinnett is one of five generations to have walked through that school building. When the news came down, all she could think about was the future generations that would also have the opportunity to walk the halls of what is now Dugger Union.
“It looks like many more generations are going to be coming through,” Kinnett said. “So I guess the main word I can say is that we’re very blessed and fortunate.”
Dugger Union is in the last year of its seven year charter agreement.