(Dated: Jan 2020) A Gary school teacher works with a student in this photo taken before the pandemic. (photo courtesy: Gary Schools Facebook page)

While there has been progress to restore the fiscal solvency of the Gary Community School Corp. over the past five years, the state agency overseeing the recovery may extend the contract of the private company managing the district.

In an open letter to the community, GCSC Manager Dr. Paige McNulty said the Distressed Unit Appeal Board is discussing the contract it has with Florida-based MGT Consulting. The contract is set to expire at the end of June.

In 2017, the state appointed MGT to manage Gary Schools to improve the financial picture of the district. Last month, Gary schools reported a $2 million surplus for 2021 after having a deficit of more than $21 million just four years prior. The district called the surplus a “watershed moment.”

McNulty says most DUAB board members support renewing the MGT contract for a final, two-year period, that would lead to GCSC exiting distressed unit status.

“We are at this position because of the progress students, families, staff, and administrators have made together in recent years. We have eliminated the school district’s $22 million deficit, invested in modernizing our school buildings, increased teachers’ salaries, and extended the school day. This work is paying off,” said McNulty in the letter.

She says DUAB board members will next month hold a meeting in Gary to allow MGT to present its plan for the next two years. Residents will also have an opportunity to share what they would like to see.