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Muncie Schools Managers: Staff Cuts Will Continue

By Stephanie Wiechmann, IPR News | Published on in Education, Local News
File Photo: Emergency Manager Steve Edwards gives a report to the MCS school board. (Photo: Tony Sandleben)

Muncie Community Schools’ emergency management team has told a state board that more staff will need to be cut at the district.  As IPR’s Stephanie Wiechmann reports, MCS is still trying to find enough money to pay bills through the end of the year.

Standing in front of the Distressed Unit Appeals Board in Indianapolis, Administrator Assistance founder Steve Wittenauer praised the administration at Muncie Community Schools for already making some significant cuts to staffing.  But he says that will have to continue.

“They did a lot of the heavy lifting.  We’re probably to the point now where it’s going to become more painful because staffing reductions are still in order.  But they were very, very successful in their staffing reductions.  And certainly closing those three buildings had an impact.”

The district closed three elementary schools to help combat a multi-million dollar budget deficit and shrinking enrollment.  Wittenauer said the team will look at class sizes to make cuts, but also consider programs that MCS offers.

“It seems like the elementary school always gets hit the hardest, because we look at, you know, student –teacher ratios there.  We have art, music, and P.E. that you are probably going to be looking at as well.  But we also need to look at some other programs that are not just hitting the elementary.”

MCS emergency manager Steve Edwards also said Administrator Assistance has met with two local lenders to look for local loans to pay bills through the end of the year.

“There are issues, but we’re still working with them, trying to find a way to do that.  And let me say this: they are very, very willing.  They want this to happen.  The issue is finding a way to make it happen.  Having the collateral to make it happen that they can issue a loan.”

The men told the state board that the team is hoping to get acceptable bids on corporation buildings for sale.  Those are due on October 16.  The team is looking to restructure the district’s bonds and hoping a $3.5 million offer of help from Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler will actually materialize.

The team will present final budget options at a school board meeting in Muncie on October 24.