Introduced Senate Bill (S)

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DIGEST

Gary schools. Provides that the following apply to the Gary Community School Corporation: (1) The governing body of the Gary Community School Corporation shall appoint a superintendent for academics and a chief operating officer. Specifies the powers and duties of these individuals. (2) The fiscal management board is established, consisting of one member appointed by the governing body of the Gary Community School Corporation, one member appointed by the mayor of the city of Gary, and one member appointed by the superintendent of public instruction. Provides that members of the fiscal management board must have experience in finance and financial Gary schools. Provides that the following apply to the Gary Community School Corporation: (1) The governing body of the Gary Community School Corporation shall appoint a superintendent for academics and a chief operating officer. Specifies the powers and duties of these individuals. (2) The fiscal management board is established, consisting of one member appointed by the governing body of the Gary Community School Corporation, one member appointed by the mayor of the city of Gary, and one member appointed by the superintendent of public instruction. Provides that members of the fiscal management board must have experience in finance and financial management. Specifies that the fiscal management board shall appoint a fiscal manger, and provides that the fiscal manager must possess, through both education and experience, an understanding of finance and financial management, and must possess any other experience and must meet any other requirements as required by the fiscal management board to ensure that the fiscal manager is qualified to carry out the financial restructuring of the school corporation. Provides that the fiscal management board, rather than the governing body: (1) has the fiscal powers and duties of the school corporation; and (2) has the powers and duties of the school corporation concerning specified operational functions and joint programs. Provides that the fiscal manager and the chief operating officer shall report to the fiscal management board and shall carry out the fiscal management board's powers and duties under the direction of and as specified by the fiscal management board. Specifies that after June 30, 2017, and before July 1, 2019, the compensation of the fiscal manager shall be paid by the distressed unit appeal board (DUAB). Specifies that the fiscal manager and the chief operating officer serve at the pleasure of the fiscal management board. Requires the DUAB to: (1) work jointly with the city of Gary and the fiscal manager to develop a financial plan for the school corporation; (2) provide information and technical assistance; and (3) assist the Gary Community School Corporation in obtaining assistance from state agencies and other resources. Authorizes the DUAB to do the following: (1) Delay or suspend any payments of principal or interest, or both, that would otherwise be due from the Gary Community School Corporation on loans or advances from the common school fund. (2) Forgive any payments of principal or interest, or both, that would otherwise be due from the Gary Community School Corporation on loans or advances from the common school fund. (3) Recommend to the state board of finance that the state board of finance make an interest free loan to the Gary Community School Corporation from the common school fund. (4) Establish benchmarks of financial improvement for the school corporation and provide a grant or grants to the school corporation, if the school corporation meets one or more of the benchmarks. Specifies that if the fiscal manager, the chief operating officer, or a member of the fiscal management board is made a party to a civil suit, the attorney general shall defend the officer or board member throughout the action. Requires the fiscal management board to do the following: (1) Attempt to negotiate with the creditors of the school corporation to establish a plan specifying the schedule for paying each creditor. (2) Submit the plan to the DUAB for approval. Specifies that the annual budget adopted by the fiscal management board for the school corporation must dedicate a significant part of the school corporation's budget to eliminating the school corporation's debt obligations. Requires the fiscal management board to do the following: (1) Attempt to negotiate with the creditors of the school corporation to establish a plan specifying the schedule for paying each creditor. (2) Submit the plan to the DUAB for approval. Provides that the fiscal management board must consult with the governing body in developing the school corporation's annual budget, and that the DUAB must review and approve the school corporation's annual budget. Requires the governing body of the Gary Community School Corporation to develop an education plan to achieve academic progress. Specifies certain components that must be included within the plan. Requires the fiscal manager to report quarterly to the DUAB in a format specified by the DUAB. Provides that the report must include: (1) information concerning the status of certain indicators of fiscal health; (2) information concerning the actions that the school corporation is taking to improve the financial condition of the school corporation; and (3) any other information required by the DUAB. Requires the fiscal manager to report more frequently than quarterly if requested by the DUAB and to provide copies of the report to the governing body, the fiscal management board, the mayor of the city of Gary, the budget committee, and the legislative council. Requires the school corporation to publish a copy of each report on the school corporation's Internet web site, along with a link to the Indiana transparency Internet web site established to provide access to financial data for local schools. Requires the school corporation: (1) to make copies of the report available free of charge to the public upon request at each school building operated by the school corporation; and (2) to provide copies of the report to the city of Gary to be made available free of charge to the public upon request. Requires the governing body to report annually concerning the school corporation's academic and financial progress and academic and financial condition at a public meeting of the city council. Specifies that the school corporation remains subject to all of these requirements until the earlier of the following: (1) July 1, 2022. (2) The date specified in a resolution adopted by the DUAB in which the DUAB terminates the school corporation's status of being subject to the requirements, after finding that significant improvements have been made to the financial condition of the school corporation and it is in the best interest of students, the school corporation, citizens, and the state to terminate the school corporation's status of being subject to the requirements. ... View more