MUNCIE — Should the state designate Muncie Community Schools as a "distressed political subdivision" like Gary Community School Corp.?
That is the subject of a public hearing at 6 p.m. on Monday at Northside Middle School.
The Gary district already has been stamped by the state as a distressed political subdivision under the full control of a state-appointed emergency manager. For now, MCS remains labeled by the state as merely a "fiscally impaired" district being assisted by a state-appointed emergency manager.
Here's how the two deficit-ridden, enrollment-losing school districts compare in some categories:
Enrollment (2016-17): Gary, 5,823, Muncie, 5,690.
Students on free meals: Gary, 77%, Muncie, 68%.
Ethnicity: Gary, 93% black, Muncie, 63% white.
A-F Accountability grade: Gary, F, Muncie, C.
Under Senate Bill 567 enacted this year, Muncie's emergency manager would act a little differently if MCS joins Gary as a distressed political subdivision. Here's how:
1) What powers are granted to the emergency manager at Gary?
All of the power, authority and responsibilities of both the superintendent and the school board. The emergency manager sits atop the organizational chart.
2) What powers would be given to the emergency manager at MCS if it were named a distressed political subdivision?
The same as Gary's. "The emergency manager would have full control over both academics and finances for the school corporation," according to Courtney Schaafsma, executive director of the state's Distressed Unit Appeal Board.