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Volunteers get school started on its new life

Charter opening in small town’s closed building

– Dozens of volunteers have been pitching in for a small southwestern Indiana town’s drive to keep its school doors open.

The Dugger Union Community School is set to start classes next week as a K-12 charter school in a community-led effort after the Northeast Sullivan School Board voted to close the school because of declining enrollment and revenue.

Lisa Parr, who has a child who will be a senior at the charter school this year, has been helping coordinate cleaning of the school since the school district turned over possession of the buildings Aug. 8.

Some 300 students are expected to attend the school starting Aug. 25 in the 900-person town of Dugger, about 30 miles south of Terre Haute.

“We’re going to be ready no matter what,” Parr told the Tribune-Star.

Indiana Cyber Charter School will oversee the school and make financial decisions, in cooperation with Dugger-Union Community Schools, said Kevin Davis, an ICCS consultant.

The two entities have a memorandum of understanding.

Because ICCS is a public charter school, parents will pay no tuition, Dugger Union administrator Danny Tieken said. Funding will come from Indiana tuition support, which Tieken estimates will be about $5,000 per student.

Tieken, who is also the school’s football coach, said the football team has been helped by equipment donations from schools around the state. The team, with about two dozen members, will play other small schools and club teams since Dugger Union’s sports teams aren’t part of the Indiana High School Athletic Association.

“We filled up a truck and half of a trailer with field dummies, hand-held dummies, shoulder pads, helmets, mouth pieces, chin straps and goal post pads,” Tieken told the Sullivan Daily Times.

Volunteer Marsha Fisher said keeping the school open is important for the Dugger community.

“It’s history, and if we lose our school, we lose our town, and we don’t want to do that,” Fisher told WTHI-TV.

Kyndall Foli spent part of last week working to clean carpets, bathrooms and walls at the school where she’ll be a high school freshman.

“This school means a lot to me,” she said.