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Gary Schools Could Get Emergency Manager

Bipartisan bill would bring in outside help to address $100M deficit

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.

(Photo: Valeriva/Thinkstock)

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