Suprise announcement secures future of Kingsford Heights Elementary School

KINGSFORD HEIGHTS, Ind.-- In a surprise announcement Wednesday night, the La Porte Community School Corporation told the Kingsford Heights community the future of their elementary school is safe.

"Tonight, you didn't disappoint us because you're here, because you love your school," said Interim Superintendent Peggy Hinckley. "And so, we will not be considering the closure of Kingsford Heights."

The stunned crowd immediately erupted in cheers at Wednesday's school board workshop meeting, which took place at Kingsford Heights Elementary School.

"I just looked at my husband, looked at my daughter like, 'Did she really just say that?' Then we all just started crying. This school means that much to all of us," said neighbor Lauri Enochs.

The community was ready to show up and protest the La Porte school board's expected decision to close down the school.

"This is a small town with a big heart, and they want to keep their school open for the children," said alum Diane Dorsett Kendall.

Hinckley said she looked at the district as a whole, and Kingsford Heights had the lowest enrollment with roughly 140 students. But after a meeting Monday night where community members made their voices heard, the school board changed their minds.

"The heartfelt love that you feel for this school was so obvious that it was overwhelming to us," Hinckley said to the crowd Wednesday.

But Hinckley left the community with a challenge: "Fill this school."

"We will have to make budget cuts because we wouldn't have caused all this interest if there wasn't a problem," Hinckley said. "And so, we haven't solved the problem by not closing the school, so we'll just have to look at other things."

Budget cuts still have to be made within the district and that means staffing cuts, but the board still has to look at their options.

A big reason the board changed its mind came from the promise of new homes coming to the area.

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