By Dave Pearce
According to information released this week, an agreement in principle has been reached that will allow the New Harmony School Building to remain a viable part of the New Harmony Community, for at least two more years.
North Posey School Supt. Todd Camp, working with North Posey School Board President Joe Neidig, New Harmony School Board President Jim Scarafia, and New Harmony Town Council President David Campbell, have reached at least a verbal agreement that would allow the Head Start program to remain in the school for at least two years.
Maintenance alone on the school building could range annually from $40,000 to $60,000 per year, barring unexpected expenses. Campbell recently appeared before the Posey County Council seeking $40,000 in funds for helping with expenses. According to Campbell, the response from the Council is another reason the school and town leaders have put their heads together to come to an agreement.
“Ultimately, the Town of New Harmony wants to maintain control of property,” both Neidig and Campbell conceded. Under the proposed agreement, the Town of New Harmony would lease the building to the North Posey School Corporation for $50,000 per year for a period of at least two years.
All parties involved agree the solution is a win-win. New Harmony will maintain control of the building and property while the building will continue to be used, for a period of at least two years, and the agreement will give the community some time to come up with some other viable options for the school. Campbell indicated that it could be similar to the situation at Hedges School in Mount Vernon which closed last year. Several tenants have moved into the building and it appears to have a bright future, despite the negatives at the beginning.
Under the agreement reached with North Posey, the North Posey School system would have had a four-year obligation to maintain the building and with the Head Start Program remaining in the building, the school corporation would have only to help subsidize only a portion of the facility. North Posey will have complete rights to the inside of the building from a leaseholder’s standpoint.
New Harmony attorney Nathan Maudlin is vacationing in Scotland this week while North Posey attorney Bill Bender has been working on the agreement with Maudlin, primarily by email.
“It’s a good thing for North Posey but it is a good thing also for the Town of New harmony because ultimately, they want control of the building,” Neidig concluded.
Campbell indicated that should all facets of the agreement be reached, paperwork for the agreement could be done within the week.
By Dave Pearce
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