School officials say that over the last five years, they have had to deal with more than $6 million in budget cuts.
Additionally, the Brownsburg CLC suffered when a center opened in Decatur Township, less than 20 miles away. The two centers are closer in proximity than any others in the nation, aside from two in New York City. By comparison in the Midwest, the next closest challenger centers to one another are more than 100 miles away.
Donna Petraits, communications coordinator for the BCSC, said, “It’s unfortunate and part of the problem is that all schools are cash strapped, so schools that used to send students for field trips aren’t much anymore. As a parent, if my child is paying to go there and I’m already paying taxes, now I’m paying twice. This is a horrible decision to have to make but this is what happens when dollars become tighter and tighter and slip away continually. We have done incredibly well with the hand we’ve been dealt and have not had to ask for a tax increase. We continue to focus our resources and energy on the classroom and reducing class sizes and that’s what the community has said is important to them.”
The Brownsburg Challenger Learning Center is the 22nd of 52 Challenger Learning Centers that span the U.S., Canada, and Great Britain.
They were originally established as a remembrance to the 51-L Crew that lost their lives in January of 1986 in the Challenger Space Shuttle explosion. The Brownsburg center offered a litany of programs, including simulated space missions, distance learning programs, teacher training, professional development, enrichment programs, and corporate missions.
In addition to the Brownsburg and Indianapolis centers, the state has another in Hammond.