MUNCIE, Ind. — A financial crisis plaguing one central Indiana school is taking another hit.
Muncie Community Schools CFO Bruce Perry resigned Tuesday just two months after he was hired. The announcement came just days after he announced more than $9 million budgeted for building repairs is not actually in the bank.
“It sort of feels like the Muncie financial crisis is like a game of hot potato,” parent Josh Holowell said.
“I think it’s surprising to a lot of us parents,” parent Barbara Shafer said.
Everyone from parents to students said they’re concerned. Some simply described the financial situation as chaos.
“If we can’t pay the teachers a fair amount then just simple economics, they’re gonna go to another place,” sophomore student Greg Shafer said.
District leaders said the money meant for building repairs was used to cover cash flow problems. The district is now facing a budget deficit in the millions.
“I’m grieving for this school system and grieving for this community,” said Muncie Teacher’s Association President Pat Kennedy. “The school system is the heart of this community.”
The resignation also comes just days before the district and Muncie Teacher’s Association present their contract proposals to the state after failing to reach an agreement. Both sides are proposing deep cuts.
Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler said he’s met with the stakeholders and doesn’t see any way the city can fix the issues.
“I don’t think there’s any way in the world that the City of Muncie can fix this issue,” Tyler said. “We don’t have the funding and the finances to fix it. I don’t think anybody else does. I think the general assembly has to recognize that there’s a challenge with the funding formula that they have in place for our inner city schools, our urban school systems.”
The district had no comment, other than to say Perry had resigned.
There is a public hearing Thursday where a fact finder will hear from the Muncie Teacher’s Association and Muncie Community Schools in hopes of helping work out new teacher contracts.