State hears from public before final Muncie Schools takeover decision

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MUNCIE, Ind. – People trying to avoid a full state takeover for Muncie Community Schools made their final pitch Monday night.

Superintendent Steve Baule outlined the steps the school has taken to bring the school’s finances out of the red. He noted that this year and next, the district will bring in more than they’ll spend.

But with a multi-million dollar deficit still weighing on the school, their voices may not be enough to convince the state to pull emergency managers out of the district.

“We see this as something where we want to be here to understand what’s going on the ground now and have all the right data points to be able to make a sound financial decision, decision for this community and for the students of Muncie Community Schools,” said Micah Vincent, the Distressed Unit Appeals Board chairman.

DUAB heard from supporters and opponents of a takeover at their last public hearing before making their decision to fully take over the district or return local control.

“I can see reasons for a state takeover and I can see strong reasons to not have a state takeover,” said Phil Boltz, an MCS parent.

The hearing happened at Northside Middle School, which just today ball state announced it’s buying from the district. Some parents say news like that is proof MCS can handle its financial woes on its own.

But the Muncie Teacher’s Association says a takeover, done right, could breathe life back into the district.

“There are lots of things beyond the budget numbers that are happening and I don’t see attitudes within the corporation and administration, turning around at this point,” said Pat Kennedy, the MTA president. “I think a state takeover might finally give teachers hope.”

Others at the hearing worry that the perception of a state takeover could push more students out of the district. MCS has already lost about 500 students in the past year since the district’s severe deficit made headlines.

The state’s decision will come in December.

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