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The board of directors from the organization “Friends of Otwell” have been meeting on a weekly basis and at least once a month with the community to discuss the closing of Otwell Elementary School.

This year, Otwell outperformed Winslow Elementary and Petersburg Elementary on the ISTEP by more than 30 percent, Otwell had a passing rate of 74.7 percent, Winslow of 38.3 percent and Petersburg of 42.9 percent. Regardless of this success it is still being closed due to the amount of students they have.

The most recent meeting with community members was on Tuesday the 12th where they had a good turn out regardless of the severe weather.

At this meeting there was progress of ideas and plans to help the community come out of this pressing issue and talks of a several different kinds of fundraisers for the charter school they have in mind were discussed. The name selected for this potential charter school is Otwell Miller Academy.

The Board President, Mike Houtsch, an associate professor of Architectural Studies Vincennes University for 25 years, shares that he has met with a company from Louisville, KY and they have sent him some preliminary drawings for a building that may house the charter school and preliminary cost estimates as well. An innovative idea is to also consider portable schools. They had a good response out of the community on Tuesday regarding these preliminary vision and they are confident with this progress.

Vice President, Robert Rhodes, a retired U.S. Air Force Colonel, is working on the application to implement the Charter school and Tuesday was the deadline for the letters of support from the community.

One of the many concerns is that the outcome of the school closing  will have a long term affect regarding the loss of businesses around the town. VP Rhodes makes connection to the other school in the around Otwell that are going through the same crisis.

Both Houtsch and Rhodes have been leaders on the “Friends of Otwell” board and have dedicated their time along the rest of the board to take charge of this issue in their community. For more information or if you would like to help the charter cause visit their website at http://www.friendsofotwell.org/.

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