Muncie Schools vote to close Southside H.S.

Published: .
Updated: .

School officials in Muncie voted Monday to consolidate two high schools.

The vote will mean the closure of Southside High School. Students at Southside will attend rival Muncie Central High School after the closure.

Administrators say it came down to money. They don't have enough of it and running one high school is cheaper that running two.

A number of Southside supporters wore red to show their support, but the vote passed 4-1. Board member Bev Kelly was the only vote against consolidation.

"I think this was a mistake and now we have to go forth and we have to do what we can do for our kids, because that's the most important thing," she said. "Tomorrow is a day when I'll probably sit in my house and bawl all day and then I'll just have to think things through."

The merger takes effect next school year. Southside will become a middle school.

Muncie Community School Superintendent Tim Heller said last week the potential consolidation comes down to the bottom line. Budget troubles and declining enrollment leave the district few options.

"We'd like to keep all of our buildings open. We've been using a band aid approach to some of the problems rather than get into possible ways to build contingency funds to do more creative and innovative things," said Heller.

To make sure the emotions on display at Monday's meeting don't spill into classrooms at both schools, the school district says it will increase security Tuesday at both Southside and Muncie Central high schools.