Proposal would allow state to take over financially troubled school districts in Muncie, Gary

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana lawmakers are considering a proposal that would allow the state to take over financially troubled school districts in Muncie and Gary.

Republicans who control the Legislature say the state ought to intervene and appoint emergency managers after both failed to fix their problems. They say school districts that face similarly dire finances ought to downsize or consider consolidating with neighboring districts.

But some Democratic critics say the matter was largely caused by Republican-championed property tax caps and changes in education funding over the last decade. They expect many more school districts to have financial troubles in the coming years.

The measure was advanced Monday by the House Ways and Means Committee on a 19-3 vote. It now goes to the full House for a vote.

Last week, the state ruled that the Muncie Community School district will not be allowed to make additional cuts to teacher salaries to make up for their financial deficit. Administrators say that decision could lead to the closing of schools.

Muncie Community Schools is appealing the ruling. 

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