Muncie community hears from potential emergency managers for school district

(WISH Photo)

MUNCIE, Ind. (WISH) — We are one step closer to finding out who will be appointed as emergency manager for Muncie Community Schools.

In April, Indiana House lawmakers approved a bill calling for a state takeover as the district faces an $18 million deficit.

On Thursday, those being considered for the job made public presentations.

A state Distressed Unit Appeal Board (DIAB) will now choose one of three outside companies, or current superintendent Dr. Steven Baule, to act as emergency manager.

Dozens filled the Southside Middle School auditorium Thursday evening, anxious to hear from potential emergency managers.

“I can’t think of a whole lot of things that are a whole lot more important than having the school system in good shape and giving my daughter a good education,” said one parent.

Indianapolis-based Crowe Horwath is one of the companies being considered, along with Administrative Assistance out of the Lafayette area.

A third company based out of Washington, D.C. is being considered as well, but representatives from that company were not present at Thursday’s meeting.

Superintendent Dr. Steven Baule is still on the list of candidates. He did not present on Thursday because the DUAB said his deficit reduction plan was presented during a May school board meeting.

Many at the meeting Thursday night said they want to see an outside company brought in.

“People in the system have already had their shot at it,” said one parent.

One teacher at Northside Middle School says a change in leadership is needed now more than ever. She says finances aren’t the only problem in the district.

“Half of our staff have resigned. We have lost every math and every language arts teacher that we have at this particular school,” said Vicki Jeffers, teacher.

Pat Kennedy with the Muncie Teachers Association said more resignations could be on the way.

“What has been happening the last two years is not working. We have teachers right now who are waiting until an emergency manager is appointed to make a decision,” said Kennedy.

Kennedy said many of them may consider staying if they have confidence in the person or company selected to serve as emergency manager.

The distressed unit appeal board is expected to make a decision by the end of the month.

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