BROWNSBURG — Following a recommendation from Brownsburg Community School Corporation Superintendent Dr. Jim Snapp that the Challenger Learning Center cease operations at the end of the 2012-13 school year, the school board voted unanimously to end the program that has been a fixture in town since 1994.
Snapp cited heavy financial losses over the past decade, coupled with diminishing funds as opposed to when the program opened, as reasons that it was no longer sustainable to keep it open.
“The center has served the community since 1994 very well over the years,” Snapp said. “However, a review of the financial records for the CLC detail extensive losses for the corporation.
“The past two years I’ve worked with Mary Patterson, director of the CLC, to shore up financial losses. During that time, I shared with Mrs. Patterson that it was critical to the CLC’s future in Brownsburg that it be a break-even venture, which it’s not. During that time, Mrs. Patterson retired and then returned on a part-time schedule to reduce cost. One flight director retired and returned on a part-time schedule to reduce cost. Three other flight directors reduced their work schedules from full-time to part-time to reduce costs.”
Snapp said the CLC offered a mission option over fall break that had to be canceled because of low registration and that distance learning fees were down 30 percent from last year as well as fees paid by schools other than Brownsburg.
“From 2002 to present, the CLC has generated $1,827,724 in revenue with expenditures of $3,620,800 for a loss of $1,793,076,” Snapp said.
He said that figure does not include the annual licensing fee and utilities to operate the facility, which come in at around $440,000 in additional losses.
Snapp said they tried to increase the fees three years ago, and that has nearly tripled the number of registration fee gains in that time coming from Brownsburg students, but he felt like students were essentially subsidizing their own education.