The Crusader Newspaper Group

Hearing set for Roosevelt College and Career Academy

Gary Crusader staff report

The Indiana State Board of Education will hold a public meeting to decide on the fate of Gary’s storied Roosevelt College and Career Academy.

The meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. in the school’s auditorium on the second floor on Wednesday, March 23. Roosevelt is located at 730 W. 25th Avenue.

The meeting is part of the state’s effort to determine what to do with the school, which has received failing grades for 10 years. The last four years the school has been under state control with the EdisonLearning Corporation. The contract is set to expire at the end of the school year, but with Roosevelt’s poor academic performance, there is concern on whether the state will close the school or return it to Gary’s overburdened and financially strapped school district.

Roosevelt is Gary’s only school that was specifically built for Blacks during segregation. Many Gary natives graduated from the school, whose alumni includes a Who’s Who in politics, entertainment, sports and business. If it closes, an important chapter in Gary’s history will come to an end.

One state official is optimistic that Roosevelt can be saved.

“Roosevelt College and Career Academy is showing great progress,” said Eddie Melton, State Board of Education Member representing Indiana’s 1st Congressional District. “This meeting will provide educators, parents, students, EdisonLearning, Gary schools and the community the opportunity to collaborate and discuss strategies for the continued improvement of students attending Roosevelt College and Career Academy.”

State law requires the Board to hold a public hearing at a school that has operated as a turnaround academy for five consecutive years in order to hear from community and school leaders about ideas to help students improve their educational performance.

According to state law, the Board can select among many options concerning future operation of Roosevelt College and Career Academy. Some of the options include: continue work with EdisonLearning under a new or extended contract to operate the school, assign a new operator for the school, or return the school to Gary Community School Corporation as an innovation network school with a third-party operator. Closing the school altogether is another option, but perhaps, a last resort.

The public meeting is designed for members of the State Board of Education to listen to voices in the community.  The meeting will include presentations from the Department of Education, EdisonLearning and the Gary Community School Corporation, followed by general public comment. No decision will be made at the meeting.

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