Gary Community School Corporation Serves More Students for First Time in More Than 10 Years

Gary schools serving more students as schools across state, country see numbers fall


OCTOBER 22, 2020


Gary, IN – The Gary Community School Corporation (GCSC) announced today that the number of students attending its schools increased for the first time in more than 10 years, as measured by the Average Daily Membership count submitted to the State of Indiana. Rising attendance in Gary stands in marked contrast to the situation in many school districts across the region and the country, where the number of students is falling.


“Our schools are making progress, and Gary families are acknowledging that progress by enrolling their children in our schools,” said Dr. Paige McNulty, the GCSC Manager. “This increase is due to the hard work of our teachers, administrators, and school staff, who are consistently performing in extremely challenging circumstances.”


Dating back to the oldest available public records in 2008, Gary’s average daily membership count has declined on a year-over- year basis. The decline began to level off when MGT Consulting, appointed by the State of Indiana, began managing GCSC. The firm has produced consistent improvements in the Gary schools, including the steadfast support provided to students and families during the pandemic, which helped increase enrollment to 4,400.


The increase in Gary stands in marked contrast to the situation across the State of Indiana. Numbers are still being finalized, but the Indiana Department of Education says ADM statewide has declined by about 14,000 students. Fort Wayne Community Schools, for instance, already reported a 1,000-student decline.


Dr. McNulty shared the latest enrollment numbers at today’s meeting of the state Distressed Unit Appeal Board (DUAB), which oversees GCSC. 


“Congratulations on this accomplishment,” DUAB Chairman Justin McAdam said. “This is a goal that the team has been working on since the beginning of the project.”


The increase in Membership Enrollment is the latest sign of progress as GCSC begins its fourth school year under management from MGT.

  • For the 10 years prior to MGT management, the decrease in ADM was 6,986, an average decrease of 699 students per year, or 60% of total ADM.
  • For the three years prior to MGT management, the decrease in ADM was 1,849, an average decrease of 616 students per year or 28% of total ADM.
  • After three years of MGT management, the GCSC ADM is increasing.


The situation in Gary is more positive than the situation in many school districts around the country, which are finalizing their enrollment counts and reporting declines. Earlier this month, the Association of Metropolitan School Districts in Minnesota released data showing enrollment declines in nearly every district. Large school districts in South Carolina, Georgia, and Maryland are all reporting declines of about 4,000 students.


“Gary’s increased enrollment is a testament to Gary families’ faith in public education,” McNulty said. “We intend to build on this faith with continued progress, coupled with transparency and parent and community involvement.”


For clarification, ADM (or Membership Enrollment) is not the same as Pupil Enrollment, which is what is listed on the IDOE website. Membership Enrollment is the count of students used by the State of Indiana for calculating tuition support revenue for school districts. Enrollment includes pre-kindergarten and is used for federal reporting, including the Every Student Succeeds Act.  


Earlier this school year, GCSC shared The Path Forward, the District’s bold two-year plan for continuing to improve academics, engagement, fiscal matters, and operations in the district. GCSC also adopted local preference policies for hiring and purchasing.


To start this school year, GCSC distributed a Chromebook with internet access to every student K-12. The district is also investing more than $25 million in renovations and improvements to school buildings thanks to funding from House Bill 1065.


In addition, from August 2017 to December 2019, the school district’s deficit has fallen from $22 million to $6 million, and the school district’s debt has fallen from $104 million to $79 million.


“We have much more ground to cover,” said McNulty. “But today we celebrate a clear sign that we are headed in the right direction.”




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