The Gary Community School Corp. is taking advantage of a new Indiana law that would allow it to postpone some loan repayments and use the money to repair or demolish aging school buildings. Our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana report the plan would free up about $25 million.
On Friday, the Indiana Distressed Unit Appeals Board unanimously approved a proposal by the district’s emergency management firm to implement the provisions of House Enrolled Act 1065.
Under the plan, Gary schools would delay repayment and extend the nine interest-free Common School Fund loans authorized by the DUAB largely to cover operating deficits since 2015.
The publication reports the plan will free up approximately $480,000 each month for the next 4.5 years, totaling about $25 million, for deposit in a School Improvement Fund that can be used to repair, renovate or demolish existing school buildings in Gary.
In the first phase set to begin July 1, the district will begin replacing the roof at West Side Leadership Academy, improving the boilers at Bethune Early Childhood Center and Gary Middle School, and rekeying locks in multiple buildings to bolster security.
According to The Times, the district also plans to install a new playground at Beveridge Elementary and will work with the mayor’s office to identify demolition targets. Later phases include completing the $8 million West Side roof replacement and repairing the high school’s swimming pool.
The plan is set for final approval by the State Board of Finance on Tuesday.