The Crossing Closes Knox Campus, Citing Declining Enrollment (6/14)

posted Jun 14, 2017, 8:44 AM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library
Posted on June 14, 2017
Author Michael Gallenberger, WKVI 

High school students looking for an alternative learning environment will soon have a bit farther to travel. The Crossing School of Business and Entrepreneurship is closing its Knox campus. Starting this fall, Starke County students will attend The Crossing’s Plymouth location.

CEO Rob Staley says the Knox campus has experienced a decline in enrollment since it opened in 2014. “Unfortunately, we do not have enough students in that county to be able to fund the school because we have expenses,” he says. “So we’ll be transporting those students from Knox to Plymouth every day.”

That will mean an even longer trip for students from other parts of Starke County, like the North Judson-San Pierre School Corporation. However, Staley says that most of the students at the Knox campus were from the local area.

He adds that when it first opened, Starke County’s public school corporations joined together in a “primary cluster contract” with The Crossing. That guaranteed the Knox campus would get a minimum of 40 students, according to Staley. “Then over the years, due to a change in administration, some differences with the principals, maybe, they felt that the program was no longer needed,” he says. “And so they stopped sending kids to The Crossing, stopped contracting with us, and eventually, we fell all the way down to only 17 of those 40 kids being funded.”

The Crossing provides a faith-based learning environment for students recovering from drug addiction or criminal histories, as well as those who’ve simply struggled in traditional public schools. As part of that, students participate in job training programs.

While Knox students refurbished and sold furniture, Staley says there are some other opportunities available in Plymouth. “Our Plymouth [campus] has some expanded job training opportunities, including an excavation team that’s clearing 12 acres of land over there,” he says. “So our students are operating heavy equipment and doing some really interesting things, leaving with multiple certifications and job placements.”

Meanwhile, Staley also expresses his appreciation for the Knox community. “They have been extremely supportive of our program,” he says. “We even had an exit celebration with the community, the students, the former graduates. I can’t say enough about how we feel about that community and how passionate they are to help kids. It’s just unfortunate that we have to have a minimum number of students.” He adds that while difficult business decisions need to be made, the Crossing is glad to be able to transport students to its Plymouth campus.