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D-Day for EACS
Fort Wayne Reader
The April 21st meeting of the East Allen County Schools Board could prove to be explosive for the district. Some parents are bracing for Superintendent Kay Novotny to endorse a cost-cutting plan that calls for the closing of Paul Harding High School.
Harding Area parents have bombarded the district with calls, letters and e-mails voicing their support for keeping Harding open. Many plan to pack into the Tuesday, April 21st board meeting to voice their wishes in person.
The superintendent says closing one of the districtís high schools would save EACS nearly $450,000 in annual operating costs. In addition to closing Paul Harding High, Woodlan Junior-Senior High School could be turned into a middle school, or sixth-graders from a number of elementary schools in the district could be moved to one of the high schools.
Many Harding Area parents see race as a factor in the plan to close the predominantly Black high school. If Harding closes, it would be Black students overwhelmingly who would have to be bused to other schools in the district. There is also the suspicion that the district has tried to stack the deck against Harding. When the close-Harding trial balloon was initially floated, it was tied to the idea that Harding, one of the districtís older buildings, would cost a whopping $25-million to refurbish. However, when the real numbers were revealed, it turned out that the renovation price tag was really closer to the $6 to $10-million range.
Following whatever recommendation the superintendent delivers to the school board, the district plans to hold a series of public meetings in May. Regardless what plan is adopted by the board, EACS officials anticipate voters might make the final decision in a referendum.