ELKHART — A Baugo School Board member has moved out of Elkhart County, leaving a vacancy that school officials hope to fill immediately.

Dwaine “Dewey” Crocker, whose term expires Dec. 31, 2016, has resigned because he no longer lives in the Baugo Community Schools district and is no longer eligible to serve.

Applications are now being accepted to fill Crocker’s seat on the board. Candidates must reside in District 2 or District 3, and resumes and letters of application must be received no later than 3 p.m. Feb. 17.

Applications can be sent to Michele Mathewson via email at mmathewson@baugo.org with “BCS Board Application” in the subject line, or mailed or dropped off at Baugo Community Schools, 29125 C.R. 22 West, Elkhart, IN 46517.

Suggested topics to include in letters of application are:

Crocker was a board member for more than seven years and most recently served as vice president.

“It’s been a very positive experience,” Crocker said. “It’s been exhilarating to give back to a community that has given so much to me.”

The biggest challenge — and also the biggest accomplishment — that Crocker could recall was how the Baugo School Board responded to budget cuts and the economic downturn. Even when school districts were losing millions of dollars to property tax caps and the state was cutting school funding by many more millions, Baugo never laid off a teacher.

“Not many schools can say that, unfortunately,” Crocker said.

Crocker said he is also particularly proud of the graduation rate at Jimtown High School, which has risen steadily over the past decade. While 80.9 percent of Jimtown students graduated in 2006-07, the graduation rate reached 95.7 percent in 2014-15.

“I’m very proud to have served in this capacity,” he said.

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