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Management company gets extension to keep running Gary (Ind.) district

Aug. 22, 2020
Indiana's Distressed Unit Appeal Board gives a 2-year extension to MGT Consultants, which has overseen Gary schools since 2017.

The for-profit management company leading turnaround efforts in the Gary (Ind.) school district has been given a two-year extension.

The Northwest Indiana Times reports that Indiana's Distressed Unit Appeal Board (DUAB) has approved two-year $7.4 million contract with MGT Consulting, which has overseen the troubled school system since 2017.

New accountability initiatives to be taken under the two-year extension of MGT Consulting's contract include an annual community engagement survey to be conducted by the University of Chicago, public FAQs, and an accountability dashboard to be shared by MGT Consulting in early fall.

The Gary district is working now on painting and playground replacement projects and is reviewing architectural bids for forthcoming roof, boiler, chiller and HVAC repair and replacement projects across the school corporation.

MGT is also pursuing an eight-year, $71.2 million referendum that will be put before Gary voters on Nov. 3. School officials say funds will be put toward teacher raises, enhancements to students' learning environment and balancing the indebted district's budget, a statutory requirement in ending state intervention.

State Examiner and DUAB member Paul Joyce says he will work with other DUAB members to ensure the referendum, if passed, goes toward the success of the school system. He expressed regret that state oversight has gone out so long.

"I do feel like we're doing this out of a necessity to get to an end line," Joyce said regarding the contract extension. "I think when started this, all we were looking for was success of the schools. ... Hopefully, this is the conclusion of where we're going to go."

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy has been writing about education for American School & University since 1999. He also has reported on schools and other topics for The Chicago Tribune, The Kansas City Star, The Kansas City Times and City News Bureau of Chicago. He is a graduate of Michigan State University.

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