‘We certainly need a strong school system to build a stronger community’: Public weighs in on future of Vigo County schools

Local News

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) –At Lost Creek Elementary Thursday evening, the Vigo County School Corporation offered the first of eight public meetings and discussed a tax referendum by May 2022 to fund high school construction and/or renovation projects.

Vigo County parents and residents at the meeting said it was a lot of information to take in, but it’s a discussion that needs to be conducted in order to better serve students both now and in the future.

Darcie Sheehan’s children attend VCSC schools, and she attended Thursday’s meeting because her children would be directly affected by whatever construction takes place.

There are eight different concepts ranging from renovations to West Vigo and Terre Haute North and South, and extending to building four brand new high schools. Building one new larger high school and demolishing the existing ones is also an option.

Of the various concepts introduced Thursday, Sheehan said, “There were some that struck me as, ‘Gosh, I hope that doesn’t happen.’ Then there were others that I was pleasantly optimistic about, like I thought, ‘That could be good for the future of our school corporation.'”

Brad and Deb Kessler said it will benefit children in the years to come.

“It has to be done,” they said. “Hopefully people will be educated enough and get out to these meetings to find our where their money is going to go and they’ll be able to make a good decision. And we certainly need a strong school system to build a stronger community. It will have these individuals going to to school and want to stay in our community and live in our community.”

Terre Haute North and Terre Haute South high schools were both originally designed to be open for 25 years. In 2022, they will both be 50 years old, and both have received a facility assessment grade of “D,” while West Vigo High School received an “F.”

(WTWO/WAWV)

“I believe we can identify some things in which our facilities are hindering the work of our great teachers,” Vigo County School Corporation superintendent Dr. Robert Haworth said. “That should never be the case. It should never stand in the way of education. That’s the known — is that we have to do something.”

With more community meetings set throughout April, Haworth said this is the start to a year-long conversation.

“Our educational programs will be housed in what model? Will they be housed in renovated high schools? Will they be housed in new high schools? Will they be housed in four high schools or in one high school? That’s really the focus of tonight, to try and get to the answer to that question.”

The next community meetings will take place April 13 at Riley Elementary and April 14 at Devaney Elementary. All meetings are scheduled for 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

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