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Gary Schools create referendum oversight committee

GARY, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Gary Community School Corporation has a referendum on the ballot for the Nov. 3 election, and in preparation, the Gary Community School Board created a Referendum Spending Oversight Committee. The volunteer group of Gary residents would track spending and collection during the referendum period if it passes on election day. 

The committee would consist of only Gary residents from local businesses, elected officials, labor groups and others and would report to the public on how funds are collected and spent.

“The referendum is intended to make the investments necessary to support Gary schoolchildren, and this oversight committee would be empowered to ensure that is done” said Paige McNulty, GCSC manager. “We recognize what’s involved with asking Gary residents to further invest in their schools, and we take the matter very seriously. We will always provide a full accounting of all funds.” 

The school corporation says the committee would report within 30 days of each meeting, which would include a dashboard and financial statement on collected revenue spent on teacher salaries, arts, athletics, extracurricular activities and student safety. The committee would also post all reports online for public access. 

“If we’re going to do this, we have to do it right, and having a committee of residents to track the spending is right way to do it,” said former State Senator Earline Rogers. “I believe now is the time to invest in our schools and to end state control, and I will enthusiastically vote yes in support of the referendum.”

The corporation says if the referendum passes it would mean the first raise for teachers in 12 years. They say students would also receive more opportunities, such as middle school sports programs and new band uniforms, along with ensuring student access to counselors and therapists. 

Gary residents wishing to serve on the committee can find the form needed by visiting the corporation’s website.