MUNCIE — State legislators reportedly will be paying attention to the outcome of a school board meeting on Tuesday night when Muncie Community Schools Superintendent Steve Baule is scheduled to present a deficit-reduction plan.
"We are trying to beat the clock here," school board President Debbie Feick said. "I feel very certain state officials will be watching what happens at our meeting — to see what direction we're going, to see if we are doing the heavy lifting."
An Indiana House-Senate conference committee is expected to determine within the next two weeks whether or not to advance a bill to place MCS finances and academics under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager. The Indiana House approved the bill but it has not gone through the Senate yet.
"Even though none of us wants school closures, that will probably be part of the plan — and obviously teacher layoffs," Feick told The Star Press.
Local opposition to the proposed state takeover is growing.
"To my knowledge, there has never been more community interest, involvement and support in the future of MCS," Sen. Doug Eckerty, R-Yorktown, told the Star Press. "With that level of commitment from the community, it seems to me that for the sake of all involved, a modest time extension should be given to allow adequate opportunity to finalize a plan that productively moves MCS forward."
He said he is working with colleagues in the Senate for an extension until Oct. 31 of this year for MCS to finalize a plan. The deadline would be added to the bill.
Eckerty is the first Republican lawmaker to voice any concern about the Muncie takeover, which was amended into Senate Bill 567 in a party-line vote of 64-30.