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EACS board gives OK to finance plan

The East Allen County Schools board approved the financing of about $23 million for building projects at Woodlan and Heritage after a public hearing where a resident cautioned that much could change in the next 20 years.

Board President Janice Witte tried unsuccessfully to interrupt and stop Jimella Harris from speaking, but Harris continued reading a lengthy prepared statement. Harris urged the board to slow down and to consider a course correction, citing examples of local governmental bodies that had changed plans midstream.

“These are 20-year leases,” Harris said. “The entire educational landscape could change significantly in the next few years. Many high school students may not even be in classrooms,” Harris said.

Moving forward is the final step in the decimation of the Harding community, Harris said.

The $10.8 million Woodlan and $11.9 million Heritage projects involve transforming both schools into campuses housing students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

All but one board member supported the financing plan.

Stephen Terry, who represents the Harding area, abstained. He arrived late and said he missed the discussion part of the public hearing and did not feel comfortable voting on the issue.

The board also voted to refinance an $11 million bond issued in 2003, saving about $430,000 and extending the bond until 2020, Wilson said.

The projects are on schedule, with construction expected to begin this fall and completion set for May 2014.