Community asked to weigh in on future of Roosevelt

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By David Denson

On July 16, a meeting will be held at the Gary Area Career Center to discuss the future of Roosevelt College and Career Academy school building.

The meeting is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. and citizens are urged to attend. An update will be provided on the current status of Roosevelt.

The meeting comes after numerous concerns were raised by community members regarding problems with the school’s boiler system. The problems resulted in students having to be displaced during the last winter school year.

Students finished the rest of the school year at the Career Center, prior to the end of the school year and it was announced that the students will return to the Career Center when school reconvenes in the fall.

Eric Parish, of the emergency management team said an estimate of the damage that includes the cost of the initial repairs has been done.

“We have evaluated the building; the contractors have determined that the damage is extensive to the pipes and units. The pipes and the univents are the issue. The uninvents connect the pipes and there is significant damage to them. In a building the age of Roosevelt the heating is all or nothing. In modern buildings you can shut down part of it. Older buildings weren’t built that way,” Parish said.

Parish says the purpose of the July 16 meeting is to provide information on the status of the repairs and the conditions of other school properties. That information will be used to gauge interest from the community on what they feel should happen next.

“The question that needs to be asked is if the work is done, is itsufficient enough to move forward without the threat of additional breakage or maintenance issues coming up. That’s the one thing we want to put in front of folks on July 16 and ask is this something the community wants to rally around,” Parish asked.

An update on EdisonLearning, the company hired by the state to manage Roosevelt, will also be provided at the meeting. EdisonLearning has a five-year contract with the Gary Public Schools and has three years left on the contract.

“I’m not sure if the average citizen, whether they have a student in the Gary Public Schools understands the ramifications of the contract between the Gary Public Schools and EdisonLearning. That’s where we are going to start on July 16, said Parish.

According to Parish Gary Community School receives tuition money for students, money for transportation and money from property taxes. The money garnered from tax collections pays for maintenance on all school property and the utilities.

“Our utility cost for Roosevelt and the other schools exceeds the money collected for tax revenue. After we have paid for utilities there is nothing left. I want people to hear that when we meet, “said Parish. “As we address the needs across the district, these are the constraints we are under. Getting information before the people and getting their input, “ Parish concluded.

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