Iowa votes against reopening Hamburg's high school

Published: Mar. 2, 2020 at 3:21 PM CST
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Hamburg has been dealt a blow in its flood recovery. Leaders had hoped to bring back the town's high school which has been closed for years as a way to attract new residents.

The town was really counting on high school students being able to return to school, but the state didn't give them the answer they were hoping for.

Hopes were high in January after the Iowa State Board of Education split the vote on whether to bring back the high school. But in a final vote late last month, the state said no.

One of the main reasons being the size of the school and concerns over sustainability.

Hamburg closed its high school in 2011 amidst concerns over the cost of keeping it going.

Right now about 150 students pre-k through eighth grade attend Hamburg’s public school. High school students are either bussed about 10 miles to Sydney or make the choice to get themselves to another school.

"This would have really been a shot in the arm for our community. We have had people that have chosen not to rebuild here because we don't have a high-school. They want their children in a school where they'll be able to finish. And so that's been kind of hurtful to our community when we're trying to bring people back, and rebuild the community and build houses. Yeah it's kind of devastating for our community,” said Mike Wells, Superintendent of Hamburg Community Schools.

As for what's next for this town as it continues to battle back from last year's flooding, there are potential plans to change the entire downtown.

The superintendent says Hamburg’s school is set up to bring back a high school curriculum. They're hoping that if they can keep current enrollment strong that one day they may get another shot at welcoming high school students as well.