The Board of School Trustees of the Duneland School Corporation met in the library of the Westchester Junior High School at 8:00 PM on Monday, January 6, 1969.
November 5, 1968 election results:
The vote in favor of the formation of the Duneland School Corporation was 2827; the vote against the formation of the Duneland School Corporation was 2441.
50 Years Ago Today
September 23, 1968
October 8, 1968
October 17, 1968
November 1, 1968
News from the Chesterton Tribune
January 3, 1969
February 11, 1969
The History of Liberty Schools (Excerpt)
Excerpt from The Tradition Continues - History of Liberty Intermediate School
During the 1950's, the Indiana General Assembly enacted legislation to facilitate the consolidation of local school districts. It was hoped that the small township schools would join together to form larger districts which would be able to provide students with increased educational opportunities. With the lack of funds making an expanded curriculum prohibitive and improved school buildings almost impossible, residents of Liberty Township petitioned the Porter County School Reorganization Committee to join the schools in Westchester Township.
The assessed valuation of Westchester Township had always exceeded that of Liberty, and by 1968 the presence of Bethlehem Steel and other industries made it the wealthiest township in the county. At this time Westchester had an assessed valuation of $95 million compared to Liberty's $4.75 million. With an assessed valuation of only $3 million, Jackson Township joined the petition after a proposed building addition was denied by the state.
The proposal to consolidate was placed on the ballot in 1962 and 1964 and was defeated both times. The merger was finally approved in 1968, and on January 1, 1969, the Duneland School Corporation, consisting of Liberty, Jackson, and Westchester Townships along with seven sections of Pine Township, officially came into existence.
The creation of the Duneland School Corporation had an immediate impact on both students and faculty members at Liberty Center. High School students from the entire district were reassigned to Chesterton High School. After consolidation, Liberty Center only served elementary students from the township and junior high school students from Jackson and Liberty Townships.
The late 1960's was a period of educational innovation, and a decision was made at this time to change to an open concept classroom approach at the elementary level and replace the junior high school with a middle school program. As a result, a new elementary school was built just west of the existing building and opened in the fall of 1971. It was also during this year that Liberty Junior High School became Liberty Middle School. Renovations to the middle school in 1971 added a new media center and cafeteria. In 1984 a $7 million building and renovation project was completed at Liberty Middle School. During construction, the old high school building constructed in 1928 was demolished to make room for a new music wing.
In August of 2000 work was completed on the new Chesterton High School located just south of CR 1100 on 11th Street. It was also at this time that the renovation of the old Chesterton High School building located on Morgan Avenue began. In order to serve an expanding enrollment, the Duneland School Board decided to reconfigure grades at the K-8 levels. Under this plan, elementary schools would serve students in grades K-4 and the two existing middle schools would become intermediate schools serving students in grades 5-6. The renovated old high school building would then become the district's only middle school servicing all students in grades 7 and 8. In August of 2001 Liberty Middle School officially became Liberty Intermediate School.
Enjoying both financial and policy support from the central administration, school board, and community, each school has had the opportunity to implement programs to prepare students for the future. Today parents, teachers, and students share a value for education, a tradition begun by the township's first settlers.
Excerpt from The Tradition Continues by Randall Eckley, former Liberty Intermediate School Media Specialist and Duneland School Corporation Director of Media and Technology