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Former school sold to diocese

– Once the center of a court battle, the former Monroeville Elementary has been sold to the Fort Wayne-South Bend Catholic Diocese, officials said Friday.

The Rev. Lourdino Fernandes said St. Rose of Lima parish plans to use the shuttered school as the new home for St. Joseph Catholic School, which is currently in Monroeville and offers kindergarten through eighth grade. Fernandes expects St. Joseph students will move into the 17-classroom, 63,000-square-foot building within a couple of months.

East Allen County Schools Business Manager Kirby Stahly said the diocese will pay the district nearly $190,000. The deal came after some legal wrangling. East Allen had sued the Indiana Public Charter Schools Association to get a judge to weigh in on whether the district should be allowed to sell the Monroeville building to the diocese.

At issue was whether amendments to the Indiana law governing the sale of abandoned school buildings meant that vacant classroom buildings had to sit on a waiting list for four years providing charter schools the opportunity to claim them for $1, or whether districts can sell the buildings under long-held state laws if no existing charter school is asking for them at the time of the sale. In December, a judge ruled the building could be sold.