Powers & Sons in talks for second Roosevelt walk-thru

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Mamon Powers

Gary school’s emergency manager reports to fiscal management board

By The 411 News

Eric Parish, of the MGT Consulting team said he is talking to Mamon Powers of Powers & Sons about doing a walk through and assessment of water damages at Roosevelt. Parish is yielding to pressure from Roosevelt alumni that Powers do a second assessment of the building’s damage after MGT’s initial estimate.

Parish made the statement at a fiscal management board meeting. There, retired state Senator Earline Rogers, a Roosevelt alumna and board chair of the fiscal management board, responded to Parish after he discussed the school district’s properties up for sale.

According to Parish, who works with Emergency Manager Dr. Peter Morikis, the district will again offer unused district buildings to the highest bidder.

Parish said this time the offerings will not include properties’ appraised values as starting prices because those prices likely scared off some bidders. In 2018, only one bid was received for 33 school properties up for sale.

That’s when Rogers responded, “What are you going to do about it.”

Parish held a public meeting in mid-July, and talked about the damage assessment at Roosevelt and repair estimates. “Every public meeting Dr. Morikis has held since, has been concerns about Roosevelt even though the meeting wasn’t about Roosevelt,” Glen-Eva Dunham, Gary Teachers Union President told the board. “People don’t trust MGT.”

Rogers supports the Powers & Sons assessment. “I think people will believe someone who is a trusted member in the community.”

It is budget time for all taxing units in Lake County, but the Gary Community Schools Corp.’s emergency manager is the only one in the county who has a fiscal management board looking over his shoulder. When the Gary school district came under state control in 2017, the state required the emergency manager to report to a four-member panel, its progress on returning the school district to financial stability.

And like recent school district meetings, Roosevelt High School was a topic of discussion.

The fiscal management board meets every three months.

Board members are former State Senator Rogers, Purdue Chancellor Thomas Keon, Attorney Clorius Lay of Gary, and Indiana Department of Education‘s Kelly Whittman.

At Thursday’s August 29 meeting, a new member was being considered to replace Attorney Lay, who resigned after his win in the May Democratic Primary for a seat on Gary’s city council. Lay will likely win in November’s General Election where he is running unopposed.

Only one person, Marlon Mitchell, has applied for the position. Mitchell last served as president of the Ivy Tech Community College Campus in Gary.

Lisa Rosinko, the Gary schools’ Chief of Operations and Finance gave an overview of how state changes to school funding will affect the 2020 budget. The budget will be published September 12.

Rosinko also showed that in 2018, the district overspent its revenues by nearly $3.7 million. Rosinko said the district’s revenues will take a $4 million hit from the circuit breaker in 2020.

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