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GlenEva Dunham, (l-r), Indiana State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Jennifer McCormick, Earline Rogers, Dr. Peter Morikis, and Thomas Keon

School district talking to Powers & Sons for Roosevelt assessment

Contributed By:The 411 News

Gary schools' emergency manager reports to fiscal management board

It is budget time for all taxing units in Lake County, but the Gary Community Schools Corp.’s emergency manager is the only one in the county that has a fiscal management board looking over its shoulder. When the Gary school district came under state control in 2017, the state required the emergency manager to report to a 4-member panel its progress on returning the school district to financial stability.

And like recent school district meetings, Roosevelt High School was a topic of discussion.

The fiscal management board meets every 3 months.

Board members are former Indiana State Senator Earline Rogers, Purdue Chancellor Thomas Keon, Atty. Clorius Lay of Gary, and Indiana Dept. of Education‘s Kelly Wittman.

At Thursday’s meeting, a new member was being considered to replace Atty. Lay, who resigned after his win in the May Democratic Primary for a seat on Gary’s city council. Lay will likely win in November’s General Election where he is running unopposed.

Only one person, Marlon Mitchell, has applied for the position. Mitchell last served as president of the Ivy Tech Community College Campus in Gary.

Lisa Rosinko, the Gary schools’ Chief of Operations and Finance gave an overview of how state changes to school funding will affect the 2020 budget. The budget will be published September 12.

Rosinko also showed in 2018, the district overspent its revenues of $65.3 million by nearly $3.7 million. Rosinko said the district’s revenues will take a $4 million hit from the property tax circuit breaker in 2020.

The district will again offer unused district buildings to the highest bidder, said Eric Parish, the MGT Consulting team member who oversees the district’s finances and shares emergency manager duties with the district’s academic superintendent, Dr. Peter Morikis.

Parish said this time the offerings will not include properties appraised values as starting prices because those prices likely scared off some bidders. In 2018, only 1 bid was received for 33 school properties up for sale.

Rogers, the fiscal management’s board chair brought up Roosevelt High School. “What are you going to do about it,” Rogers asked.

Parish said he is talking to Mamon Powers of Powers & Sons about doing a walk through and assessment of water damages at Roosevelt. Parish is yielding to pressure from alumni that Powers do a second assessment of the building’s damage after MGT’s initial estimate.

Parish held a public meeting in mid-July, and talked about the damage assessment at Roosevelt and repair estimates. “Every public meeting Dr. Morikis has held since has been concerns about Roosevelt even though the meeting wasn’t about Roosevelt,” GlenEva Dunham, Gary Teachers Union President told the board. “People don’t trust MGT.”

Rogers supports the Powers & Sons assessment. “I think people will believe someone who is a trusted member in the community.”

Story Posted:09/02/2019

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