Lake Ridge Schools Parents Ask For Legislative Help

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Declining enrollment and statewide education funding cuts are threatening to close a Lake Ridge district elementary school. but parents there say they won’t let any school close without a fight … and they took that fight yesterday to Indianapolis.  The Lakeshore’s Sarah Holst reports…

One of Lake Ridge’s three elementary schools is in danger of being closed because of cuts in education funding. During a recent series of community forums, administrators explained to parents that without additional funding … the school system will run out of money by October.  The proposed solution is to close an elementary school.

Kelley Thomas – It saddens us and destroys the community. To close either takes a school away from a community that has nothing as it is.

Kelley Thomas is a mother of three and president of the Hosford Park Elementary Parent Teacher Committee. She says decreased enrollment and reduced funding are not the only issues impacting the school corporation’s budget.

Thomas – Back in the day we collected 92 percent of our property taxes. Now, with vacant homes and people not paying, we went from 92 percent to 76 percent. That’s a huge funding deficit.

Some Region schools have considered or passed public referendums to increase school funding through taxes … but Thomas says such measures are not always the answer.

Thomas – If we ask for a referendum here, we don’t know if it will pass. We have a lot of elderly, with no children in the schools, how can we ask them to pay more when they’re paying at the top of their income as it is.

Many parents and administrators believe there is funding available … if the state legislature is willing to pass a school replacement levee grant.  That’s why a bus full of concerned parents left early Tuesday morning for Indianapolis … to try to meet with law makers and convince them to keep the school open.

Frazier – I’m trying everything I can, doing whatever I can, not just for my kids but for everybody’s kids on this bus. I’m hoping just for our voices to be heard.

Sarah Holst, Lakeshore News.


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