Three years. That’s how long officials at northeast school corporation plan to keep things just the way they are. Tonight, Superintendent Dr. Mark Baker recommended against several consolidation options.
The reason? A new act has been put in place by the state officials.
Baker told the school board and members of the public, that the passage of House Enrollment Act 1009 has changed everything. Beginning in 2019, the act will cause a major change in school fiscal management. It’s a complicated process, which continues to evolve.
But ultimately, he says, Act 1009 will help Northeast financially, because the corporation will spend less money out of the education fund.
“We started to learn the details in the end of march it made a big difference it was kind of the fog was starting to lift, said Dr. Mark Baker. As we were figuring things out we thought we can do this and 1009 is favorable for northeast school corporation.”
Baker told the board, that over the next three years, he has several red flags which could change the situation. First and foremost would be a drop in enrollment. If that happens, he recommends revisiting several consolidation options that have been discussed at public meetings. Most involve movement of grades within Northeast. Another, would be the possibility of consolidating with Southwest School Corporation.
Many of the people attending tonight’s meeting, seemed relieved. But they also know that rural schools, like northeast, face declining enrollment and financial strains. They hope this move will buy some time.
“I think it’s a good start I think we’re going in the right direction something has to happen, said Jamie Huff, parent/teacher. But they’re laying the groundwork for the future of our school system.”
“But with this new House Enrollment Act, I think it will give us a step we can take a step back, said Nancy Liston, parent/teacher. We can take a little bit more time and breathe a little bit more before we make drastic changes like we did a few years back.”
Baker said a number of people are interested in exploring a possible consolidation with Southwest. But it is just a possibility down the road.
In the short term, he is optimistic about Northeast schools. He talked with pride about the five bay auto shop, renovation of the library and complete makeover of the biology and chemistry classrooms at North Central High School.