Muncie, IN A story today on WISH-TV 8 seems to state that a decision to close Northside Middle School has already been made. That statement is simply false. Several potential school closing scenarios are being developed. These scenarios will be shared with the Board of Education after the IEERB Fact Finder returns a decision. It is clear that if the fact finder selects the MTA proposal, the excessive costs of continuing the MTA insurance plan as is will require that MCS close at least five schools. The administrative recommendation in that case, and that case alone, would be to close Northside Middle School along with four elementary schools.
Assuming that the Fact Finder selects the MCS proposal, the recommendations of the Facilities Committee, along with other potential administrative recommendations, would be shared with the Board. At this point, all of those draft recommendations include keeping both Northside and Southside Middle School.
Because knowing the decision of the State Fact Finder is essential to understanding the Board of Education’s options, it makes no sense to discuss options prior to that decision. Once the decision is known, the Board will be provided one or more recommendations, and opportunities for community input on those options will be provided as well.
MCS understands there are extremely difficult decisions that must be made by the end of the school year in order to continue moving towards a sustainable fiscal situation. The Board of Education will gather public input during its decision making process and prior to making any final decisions.
In January 2017, the Board of Education reviewed the criteria that would be considered by the Facilities Committee in developing its recommendations. Those criteria include the following:
• Facilities Condition Indicator Score developed by SSC (2016)
• Cost of identified maintenance projects developed by SSC (2016)
• Performance Services Building Score (2014)
• Performance Services Energy Use Index Score (2015)
• Average classroom size (sq. feet) [& open v. traditional concept]
• Total student capacity (based upon 2010 Blue Ribbon Study)
• Student population in current enrollment area and no. of transfer students
• Assessed value of current property
• Property size
• Entrance Security (main entrance includes a man trap directly adjacent to the office)
The documents which the Facilities Committee reviewed as they worked on their task include the following:
• The 2010 Blue Ribbon Committee Report
• The 2014 Performance Services Report
• The 2015 Performance Services Energy Use Analysis
• The 2016 SSC Deferred Maintenance Plan
All of those documents are available on the MCS website. The committee also took extensive tours of each MCS facility to assess its current conditions and use.
Assuming a Fact Finder decision in favor of the Board’s proposal, a final decision on which schools will be closed would be made in early to mid-May. A Fact Finder decision in favor of the MTA would most likely see a decision on school closings made more quickly, as the Board’s options would be much more limited.