MCS opening Monday after canceling two days of classes

UPDATE - On Friday afternoon, MCS said that they will resume classes on Monday, August 7.

"Muncie Schools will wait until Monday, August 7, to resume classes to give MCS transportation sufficient time to straighten out the issues that were created on Wednesday."

Original Story:

MUNCIE, Ind. - Muncie Community Schools will be closed on Friday due to continued problems with its bus system.

In a press conference on Thursday afternoon, the Emergency Manager of MCS, Steve Wittenauer, addressed the media and said they are canceling classes due to ongoing transportation issues.

"The safety of the children is our number one concern as the school corporation, and we feel really bad about Wednesday," Wittenauer said.

He went on to discuss their ongoing financial problems. When asked if tax payers will be burdened by their issues, Wittenauer said, "I think that could be a possibility."

Wittenauer also gave a look inside how much money is needed for MCS, "I can't tell you with 100 percent assurance that we're going to have the money to keep us going, the immediate need is 10 million dollars to keep the school corporation running."

In a previous statement, Administrator Assistance said the district is expected to run out of money by the middle of September and fall nearly $20 million short in 2017.

"We've never been in that situation before so the bottom line is we want to make sure we do secure those funds. And I'm confident that we will," Wittenauer said.

Wittenauer said they're turning to a number of different entities, including the Indiana Department of Education for help. IDOE also offered to help with the busing issues this week.

"Transportation is definitely not unique to Munice schools. It's something that we see across the state and just you know, the severity ranges. Clearly you can see that and so you know our goal again is how can we  be a good partner when called upon to help move that along and help work that out," IDOE press secretary Adam Baker said.

Dr. Steve Baule, superintendent of schools, made the decision this afternoon after meeting with his staff, the bus company Auxilio, True Consultants, the route coordinator, the IDOE and members of the emergency management team.

"The issues we had Wednesday with our transportation system were unacceptable,” said Dr. Baule in a press release, “we are working diligently to make sure this situation is not repeated. The safety of our students is our top priority. The situation was unsafe and it is paramount that we correct those issues before we resume school.”

They initially canceled classes for today on Wednesday evening, after parents told CBS4 that issues included pickup and drop-off times, unreturned calls and students having to give drivers directions.

District sources said bad route information, families not reporting new addresses and 20 percent of drivers quitting just days before the first day of school contributed to the problems.

The transportation issues come after state lawmakers voted for a state takeover of the district, which is expected to have a deficit exceeding $9 million at the end of 2017.

According to their Facebook page, they expect classes to resume on Monday.

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