‘Distressed political subdivision’ decision expected Wednesday for Muncie schools

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MUNCIE, Ind.-- Muncie Community Schools are expecting a major decision to be made regarding the school district Wednesday.

The Distressed Unit Appeal Board is expected to decide whether to designate the district a distressed political subdivision. Earlier this year through an enacted state senate bill, Gary Schools were given the designation while MCS was declared a fiscally impaired school corporation and Administrator Assistance was appointed its emergency manager. The designation of a distressed political subdivision would give an appointed emergency manager more control in the district.

The DUAB said if a local government is given such a designation, it is required to appoint an emergency manager who would assume all powers of both the executive and fiscal body for the local government. The designation does not happen often.

"It's not something we see happening every single day, obviously it's the last and the worst case scenario we'd like to see," Indiana Department of Education spokesman Adam Baker said.

The scenario, though, is one the Muncie Teacher's Association welcomes.

"There are many, many, many issues that need a collaborative effort and we don't believe that that's going to suddenly appear January 1st if we don't have someone else coming in and a different set of ears to listen and people to talk with," MTA president Pat Kennedy said.

Ahead of the decision, MCS school board held its regularly scheduled meeting. The board president said she trusts the DUAB will consider all aspects of the district's financial progress.

"The district is in much better shape than they were in July certainly they still have a few issues to overcome, they're running about a $12 million deficit in the general fund," emergency manager Steve Edwards said.

The DUAB will meet Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.