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Muncie Community Schools seeking loan to prevent shutdown

MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) – Officials of a school district in eastern Indiana say it won’t shut down despite predictions that it’ll run out of money by the end of the year.

Muncie Community Schools Chief Financial Officer Bob Coddington told The Star Press the district is working to secure funding so it can meet payroll and other expenses. The district is facing an $8.5 million general fund deficit.

The state appointed Emergency Manager Steve Edwards to help the district.

“We’re still looking for financial support,” Edwards said. “We’re trying to turn over every stone to help us out with cash this fall.”

The district is pursuing a loan from the state’s Distressed Unit Appeals Board, Coddington said. The district could get as much as $5 million from the board.

Edwards said the loan would help the district address cash flow issues in the fall, but receiving the loan isn’t guaranteed.

The district must submit a petition and supporting documentation to the board. The board would then make a recommendation to the State Board of Finance, which has final approval over the request. The finance board is comprised of the governor, state auditor and state treasurer.

Board member Courtney Schaafsma said the board is working with Edwards to ensure the district pursues all available options. She said the loan could be approved by October or November.

The district had more than 18,800 students enrolled in 1965, but it had fewer than 5,700 students enrolled last year. The district has been criticized for not downsizing quickly enough.