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New Harmony School to close doors & consolidate

Published: Dec. 8, 2011 at 9:18 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 15, 2011 at 9:18 PM CST
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NEW HARMONY, IN (WFIE) - New Harmony School will close it's doors. The school board voted unanimously Thursday. School officials say they've been discussing closing the school for a few years now.

The board is now looking at consolidation, but Thursday night's decision to close the school is tough and emotional for an entire community.

"It's just very sad," said former student Stacy Conyers.

Thursday night's decision brought tears to teachers, school board members and parents.

Conyers graduated from New Harmony in 1982, her husband graduated in 1976, and their five children also went to the school.

"This has been an excellent school," she said.  "My children got a wonderful education here and teachers are excellent."

Others like A.J. Eaton are learning they will be part of the last graduating class.

"I want everyone I know to graduate from here, so it's kinda tough."

School officials say with 137 students now and 30 less expected next year, the school's enrollment is just too low to continue. Because of the low enrollment, officials say the school has lost 30 percent of its funding within the last couple of years.

School officials are now in talks with Mount Vernon and North Posey schools for consolidation. It's unclear which school they will choose, but officials hope to have the merger completed by July 1.

Both districts indicated that they can absorb the students easily, but say they would not use the New Harmony School building. After this school year, officials say the New Harmony School building will be closed.

"In the end, I think it will be okay. It's just really hard. Change is hard," said Conyers.

Board members say they don't know what's going to happen to the 18 teachers and two administrators. They say they have enough money to complete the school year, but hope to have consolidation done by July 1.

The school board is hoping to have a meeting with the decided district January 19.

This year's graduating class only has 13 students. This year also marks the school's 100th class reunion.

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