Passionate Moores Hill Residents Come Out To Fight Possible School Closure

By Travis Thayer South Dearborn Community Schools district residents packed Moores Hill Elementary Wednesday night to voice their concerns over the district's proposal to close a school. Photo by Travis Thayer, Eagle 99.3. (Moores Hill, Ind.) – Citizens in the South Dearborn Community Schools district had the opportunity to voice their concerns Wednesday night over the district’s proposal to close a school. Moores Hill Elementary School has long been identified as the school that would most likely be closed if the Board of School Trustees decides to go that route to maintain fair class sizes and reduce costs as enrollment in the district continues to decline. A large crowd of Moores Hill and other area residents packed the elementary school Wednesday evening, pleading with the board to reconsider possibly shutting down the school, and to look at the impact it will have on their small community. As of right now, Moores Hill Elementary is not in any debt, but the declining enrollment could change that in the future.  Citizens urged the board to find another way to make the school profitable. Some even suggested personnel changes, stating that Moores Hill Elementary used to be the best school with the best teachers. A recent South Dearborn High School graduate proposed that the school board look at ways to strengthen the feeder schools (Dillsboro, Manchester, Moores Hill) by adding extracurricular activities that would give parents and their children a reason to stay in the South Dearborn Community Schools district. Others argued that children wouldn’t get the same care and attention at schools such as Aurora or Dillsboro Elementary. Some classes at Moores Hill have only 11 or 12 students, perhaps small enough to consider combining grades. Classes are larger at Aurora Elementary. At Dillsboro, one kindergarten classroom has 28 children, said one parent. The board countered by saying that any class that reaches a maximum of 30 students would automatically be split into two 15-student classes to maintain fair class sizes. Residents also argued that closing Moores Hill Elementary would cause the South Dearborn School District to lose even more students in the long run. According to data comprised by the Board of Trustees, South Dearborn’s enrollment has already decreased eight percent in the last year going from 2,818 students in 2012-13 to 2,749 students in 2013-14. Being just two miles away from Milan, it would be more convenient for Moores Hill residents to send their children to Milan schools. One former Moores Hill student who moved to Milan voiced his opinion. "Milan doesn’t have the academic program that South Dearborn High School has," he said.  Adding that, "if you shut down this building you aren’t losing a school, you are gaining an abandoned building.” Others raised concerns over effects on local businesses, taxes, and property values. One Moores Hill resident even went as far as saying that closing the school would completely decimate the town. Most questions posed to the school board went unanswered. However, the school board made it clear they didn’t have to answer any questions. Those in attendance asked the board to come up with a clear plan, and to provide some answers before putting the school closure to a vote. The school board will hold their next regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, July 20. That meeting could put the school closure up for vote.  Although, school board president Bill Lane says that the vote could be pushed back due to the amount of questions and concerns raised at the Wednesday meeting. RELATED STORIES: South Dearborn School Board Taking School Closure Conversation To Moores Hill June 24 Moores Hill School Closure Could Cost Town Identity, Loss Of More SD Students South Dearborn Schedules Meetings To Discuss Possible School Closure, Other Options South Dearborn Tracking Enrollment Decline South Dearborn Superintendent To Retire In 2018 Higher From Within: South Dearborn Picks Ballart To Lead Knights Football Comeback South Dearborn HS Names New Boys Head Basketball Coach Scholarships Granted To 43 South Dearborn Graduates Principals Offices Changing Hands At South Dearborn Schools

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