Muncie Schools discusses plans to reduce $4.5M deficit

MUNCIE, Ind. (WISH) — Parents and community members in Muncie had a chance to learn more about the future of Muncie Community Schools on Thursday.

Administrator Assistance, the emergency management company hired to help the financially struggling district, held a town-hall style meeting to provide updates on their progress.

Their main message to the community? That MCS will remain open and functioning, despite a multimillion dollar operating deficit.

The team told the community that more cuts will be coming in the district.

An exact plan for cuts has not yet been finalized, and emergency managers said it would be premature to speculate. However, they said they are looking at all options, including the possibility of closing additional schools, discontinuing certain programs, or eliminating more teaching and administrative positions.

The goal is to reduce the remaining $4.5 million deficit in the operating fund.

Emergency managers told the community they’ve already seen progress toward financial stability with the closure of three elementary schools this year and the elimination of several staff positions.

They’re now looking to the future and said it will take time, but they’re confident they’ll get the district back on track.

“It will take more than six months to straighten out, as far as implementation goes, but I’m confident that when it comes to the general fund and the budget that we have to operate on for 2018/19, we will be back on course by the end of 2019,” said Steve Wittenauer, co-owner of Administrator Assistance.

“I think you’re always going to get people who are going to be negative about what is being proposed, but there is also a lot of people that are committed to making sure we wind up with a good solid school district,” said Tony Costello, a former board member who was at the meeting Thursday.

Wittenauer also said the sale of some buildings currently owned by MCS would help make up the budget shortfall.

24-Hour News 8 expects to learn more about funds from those sales later this month.

The emergency management group has planned to propose their full deficit reduction plan to the school board in December.