Residents Say Closing Monroeville Elementary School Could "Destroy Our Town"

By John W. Davis

June 18, 2010 Updated Jun 4, 2010 at 10:55 PM EDT

MONROEVILLE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - A town of 1,200 residents could lose its only school to budget cuts in 2011.

Indiana's NewsCenter spoke to parents Friday night who said losing the school would "destroy the town."

It's a Friday night ritual in Monroeville. Youth league softball and baseball games.

However, parents said if their kids don't get home until five or six p.m. the league could strike out, if the school board does not want to play ball.

"If you could take us off the table and quit talking about it, I think we could get our numbers up," said Monroeville Youth Softball & Baseball League President Steven Pflueger.

"But we can't get people to move out here again as long as they keep talking about closing the school and they've talked about it every year for the last three or four years," exclaimed Pflueger.

Officials have tabbed East Allen County Schools as one of the most unique school districts in the country.

The district is a mix of urban areas like New Haven and rural setting like Monroeville and Woodburn.

The scattered population in East Allen County has seemingly spread the district's funds too thin.

"If the school closes, I think that's going to be detrimental to the community. Dollar General wants to come to Monroeville and if the school closes, we've been told they won't come," said Monroeville Elementary School Parent.

Hoffman's sons will be in the third grade and the kindergarten this fall.

Meanwhile, 44-year-old Steve Pflueger has lived in Monroeville all his life, graduating from the same Monroeville school building that's slated to be closed.

Pflueger is also a former East Allen County Schools bus driver and busing his kids, has him on edge.

"Their alternative is to going around and pick up 75 kids in a country setting where you gotta have an hour and a half of two hours to pick up that many kids and then bus them into town it doesn't make any sense," said Pflueger.

Nevertheless, parents recognize how tough this decision will be for EACS board members.

"I don't envy the school board. I really don't. I know they have tough decisions to make but I hope they make the right one, with all considerations in mind," said Monroeville Parent Teachers Organization Member Amy Blair.

Closing Monroeville Elementary is an option in all five district redesign plans that are being considered by the East Allen County School Board.

The school is only at 42% capacity serving 177 students.

Monroeville has the lowest percentage of student to capacity ratio in the EACS district.

If you want to learn more about the five redesign plans, visit the related content section of this article.

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