FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 20, 2020
Gary Community Schools Corporation
Recognized for Continued Progress
Recent gains lead state agency to drop reference to “Emergency”
(Gary, IND) – The Distressed Unit Appeal Board (DUAB) announced at its meeting today that it would drop the “emergency” part of the title for the Gary Community School Corporation’s manager as a sign of the progress being made across the district. The manager, who provides the day-to-day leadership, is career teacher and administrator Dr. Paige McNulty.
“The title change means that our team’s hard work is paying off, and we are closer to the district becoming the high-quality, locally-led school system that we envision,” said Dr. McNulty. “I’m grateful for the efforts of Gary students, educators, families, and residents, and I’m eager to build on this progress.”
The change in emergency status came as DUAB agreed via a 5-0 vote to the contract terms with Gary Schools Recovery, a subsidiary of MGT Consulting Group, which has overseen the district since the 2017-18 school year. DUAB chose to continue the partnership and build on the progress underway. At a June meeting, citing the gains made in balancing the district’s budget and improving its operations, DUAB Board Chair Justin McAdam said, “MGT has been very successful in righting the ship and setting the course for future success.”
The new contract will hold MGT to even higher standards. Whereas the initial contract averaged fewer than five benchmarks a year, the new contract will average more than 30 benchmarks annually. Similarly, just 21 percent of funding in the initial contract was based on performance, compared to 26 percent in the new contract.
“DUAB is clearly committed to holding us to a high bar, and we welcome that level of accountability,” said Eric Parish, Executive Vice President at MGT. “We’re proud of the progress we’ve achieved to date, and we’re excited for the opportunity to keep working with students, families, staff, and community members and to continue to improve the quality of Gary schools.”
The district is preparing to publicly release a two-year plan by the end of August that puts the district on the path to ending state control. Core elements of the plan were discussed in May at a DUAB community meeting, and the plan has taken shape over the summer through discussions with DUAB and feedback through a public survey. McNulty has committed to sharing public reports every three months on the district’s progress toward accomplishing the goals outlined in the plan.
DUAB’s announcement came as the latest sign of progress in the Gary Community School Corporation. From August 2017 to December 2019, the school district’s deficit has fallen from $22 million to $6 million. GCSC is in the midst of distributing a Chromebook with Internet access to every student in grades K-12 and is also investing more than $25 million in renovations and improvements to school buildings.
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