Gary Schools Could Get Emergency Manager
Gary's school system is drowning in red ink, and asking the state for help.
Gary Representative Charlie Brown says the Gary schools are barely making payroll, and facing $100 million in debts, from the bus company to the gas bill. Legislators are working on a bill to limit the school board to overseeing academics, and appoint an emergency manager to straighten out the finances, starting with a fresh round of interest-free state loans and a delay or forgiveness of those now outstanding.
Under a bill unanimously approved by the Senate, Gary Superintendent Cheryl Pruitt, Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, and the school board would appoint a three-member board to make recommendations to the fiscal manager.
Brown says a wide range of factors has put the school system in a financial hole, including Gary's floundering economy, the state's property tax caps, and declining enrollment, which he says is partly a result of charter schools and the school voucher program.
The House is working on changes to the details.