MUNCIE — The lawmaker who championed a state takeover of deficit-ridden Muncie Community Schools represents a district with two public school corporations that have been overdrawing accounts for a decade.
Rep. Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville, led a politically divisive charge to place MCS finances and academics under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager.
A retired emergency room doctor who has served in the Legislature since the 1990s and who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, Brown represents a district that includes Lebanon Community Schools and Crawfordsville Community Schools.
Both repeatedly have been cited by the State Board of Accounts for the same violation as MCS: overdrawn cash balances.
State auditors found overdrafts at Crawfordsville 10 years in a row, from 2005 to 2014, including $585,954 in 2013; $112,546 in 2012; $302,319 in 2011; $235,433 in 2010; and $343,100 in 2007. The overdrawn funds included school bus replacement, vocational education, debt service, school lunch, and capital projects.
Those deficits pale in comparison to the amounts overdrawn by MCS ($9.9 million in 2015, $10.7 million in 2014, for example), but Crawfordsville received the same warnings as Muncie:
"The cash balance of any fund may not be reduced below zero. Routinely overdrawn funds could be an indicator of serious financial problems which should be investigated by the governmental unit."