Senate panel endorses further intervention in Muncie, Gary schools

This Jan. 25, 2018, photo shows Muncie Central High School in Muncie, Ind. (WTHR Photo/Rich Nye)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indiana Senate committee has endorsed a bill further reducing the power of the Gary school board while allowing Ball State University to takeover Muncie's schools.

Both districts were previously overseen by local officials who mismanaged money. Gary is over $100 million in debt and Muncie misspent a $10 million bond.

The bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee on a 9-4 vote Thursday would further insert the state into running the districts. The proposal previously passed the House and now moves to the full Senate.

Democrats oppose the measure, saying it's undemocratic and would disenfranchise voters in Muncie, while further diminishing the authority of Gary's school board. But Republicans say it's necessary.

Republican Sen. Liz Brown of Fort Wayne described Muncie schools as a "cesspool" that "didn't happen overnight."

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