SDCSC Board Votes 7-0 To Close Moores Hill Elementary

Moores Hill Elementary has survived closing in the past, but its fate was sealed on Tuesday night.

Moores Hill Elementary School. (Photo by BC Drone Work.).

(Moores Hill, Ind.) – Moores Hill Elementary School has survived closing in the past, but that was not the case on Tuesday night.

The South Dearborn Community School Corporation Board of Trustees voted 7-0 to close Moores Hill Elementary.

Last January, Superintendent Eric Lows gave a presentation explaining why he and his office believe closing Moores Hill Elementary School is the most fiscally responsible action for the school corporation.

Among the reasons were low enrollment and high operating costs.  

According to the presentation, Moores Hill has lost the largest percentage of enrollment over the last decade. However, the school corporation alluded to declining enrollment across the board, which suggests it is not just a Moores Hill problem. 

Soon after the presentation was given last year, a vote of 3-to-4 resulted in keeping the school open in January of 2020. At the time, Karla Raab, Josh Holland, Brett Fehrman and Brent Casebolt voted against closing the school.

However, those four are no longer apart of the school board following the 2020 November General Election.

Raab and Holland were present at Tuesday’s meeting to ask the board to reconsider closing Moores Hill.

“Please consider what you might be giving up,” said Raab. “Possibly over 100 kids. Can the school sustain and be willing to move forward with a loss of kids because Milan is more than ready to take on our kids. When we move forward with a decision, is it divisive or does it pull us together. I look at this decision as one that's potentially more divisive for South Dearborn which could cause more losses in the future. I do not think that our corporation can sustain more losses and I think that would lead us down a road or the corporation in decision making in the future to close more of our individual elementary schools, and is that the road you wish to travel."      

Holland followed Raab in pleaded the school board to deny the recommendation set by Superintendent Lows by saying that no new information has been presented since the 2020 presentation. 

"To vote to accept the superintendent's recommendation would publicly demonstrate a significant board majority leading citizen desires or certain constituency grouping," said Holland.  

Holland added "if you are closing one, close all three of them," alluding to the other elementary schools within the corporation. "If that's the direction, just do it," Holland added. 

“There may not be a South Dearborn in the future with all these closings," said Pat Holland. "People are starting to get angry.”

Following the public comment portion of the meeting, Superintendent Lows and school board members briefly discussed their decision to close the school. 

Lows said closing Moores Hill will help the school corporation continue to manage declining enrollment; utilize school buildings more effectively; enhance the curriculum; and secure necessary funding to offer competitive salary and benefits to the staff.

"The school corporation has lost a significant number of students over the last several years," said Lows. "We have too many buildings and not enough students. It goes back to those specific goals in mind as far as the rationale and reasoning for the recommendation."

Community members will likely have a lot of question about where the school district goes from here. According to "the plan" laid out in 2020, students from Moores Hill would be redistributed to Aurora and Dillsboro. 

No specific details have been provided about how the physical Moores Hill Elementary building might be used in the future. 

Lows has said in the past, and it was included in the 2020 presentation, that the building could potentially be considered for reopening if enrollment could reach 200+ students. At that point, it would make it fiscally viable from a revenue to expenditure standpoint.

An official closing date for Moores Hill Elementary is unknown at this time. 

For more information, click here.

For a link to Tuesday's school board meeting, visit (1) South Dearborn Community School Corporation | Facebook

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