Muncie schools turning to state for financial help

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MUNCIE, Ind. -- Muncie Community Schools is turning to the state to help dig out of a financial crisis rattling the community. The district said it has about a $15 million budget shortfall.

Tuesday night, the board of trustees approved the idea of submitting a petition to the state's Distressed Unit Appeal Board for a loan. Muncie Community Schools Superintendent Dr. Steven Baule said the maximum amount the district could receive if the state approved the request would be about $5 million.

"My understanding at this point is we wouldn't be conceding any role to them because it's a loan," Baule said. "But they want to see the plan of how that's gonna be put in place and I don't know if they would put any conditions on the loan."

The move drew mixed reactions from parents and teachers rallying ahead of the board meeting.

"I think we as a community can handle this problem what we need is better state funding," said Chris Piche, a parent.

"If we're to the point where we want to cut teacher's salaries and get rid of good teachers I don't know what the other option is," Julie Snider, a teacher, said.

Next, the Muncie Community Schools will have to get together all of its financial documents to submit to the state for consideration. Baule said if its petition is approved, the key is figuring out how to pay off the loan. He said selling property may be one idea to consider.