INDIANAPOLIS — The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee on Monday set in motion legislation for a state takeover of finances and academics at Muncie Community Schools.
Rep. Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville, who chairs the committee, compared financially unstable MCS to the cash-strapped Gary Community Schools.
He pushed through amendment #21 to Senate Bill 567, which designates the Gary school district as "distressed," to include Muncie, saying "I added Muncie because of State Board of Accounts findings."
Muncie School Board members and legislators representing Muncie were not permitted to testify until after the committee voted 17-5 to approve the amendment.
"There are a lot of school corporations that concern me greatly," Brown said at a committee hearing. "These include Clinton Central and Wabash County, which has a $3.5 million unfunded liability self-insurance account, so if a person gets sick in that corporation, the question is, is the money in that account to pay for the illness?"
But Muncie and Gary "concern me the most, because by far and away their cash balance according to the State Board of Accounts … Gary School Corporation has a deficit of all funds of $19,968,828 and 60 cents, and Muncie school corporation has a negative deficit cash fund of all their funds of $18,686,859 and 72 cents," Brown said. "By far and away these two corporations exceed the threshold that I feel uncomfortable with in continuing such a negative deficit fund balance. And that's why I included Muncie school corporation."