At one time, there were over forty thousand students enrolled in the Gary Community School Corporation. We needed many school buildings to house these students and teachers. Gary, Indiana was the third largest populated city in the state of Indiana. Then we experienced the great migration of people leaving the city for the suburbs and other more prosperous states and cities. The five thousand plus students and nine schools that remain in the Gary Community School Corporation are the remnant of the great school district we once knew. People will now look at Gary not for information about how to educate children as they once did under William A Wirt, but will be eyeing Gary to see how we resurrect a dying system to continue to provide a high quality of education for a poverty stricken, economically declining, and resource poor community. Our children are Hoosier strong! Our teachers and staff are committed and dedicated to educating our children and do not allow the naysayers who rejoice at the present situation we find ourselves in to determine our efforts or our future.
The Gary Community School Board of Trustees has been placed in a very peculiar situation. In a sense, we are the remnant of all past boards that have served the community of Gary whether appointed or elected. Senate Bill 567 that was passed by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor effectively ended the statutory responsibilities of the members currently serving as the elected representatives of Gary’s citizens. As the longest tenured member presently serving on the board, I have mixed emotions about the content of the bill and the statement it is making about the School Board of Trustees’ ability to govern effectively. We have chosen not to be offended or accusatory about the perception held about us by the members of the community or the General Assembly. We came to them with an issue regarding our financial situation and the reality that our district could not meet its obligations to our employees and vendors. They have responded with what is an approach that will give fresh eyes to the issues and challenges faced not only by the Gary Community School Corporation but by public schools statewide. Personally, as a beneficiary and advocate for public schools, I am willing to step back quietly and take a wait and see attitude about the “pilot program” of administering one of Indiana’s largest urban school districts.
Educating children is our goal. The parents and children of Gary, Indiana who have maintained their trust in our ability to do so by keeping their faith in us have not been disappointed. Children who graduate from a Gary high school are accepted by every college and university in the state and nation. These students have many more scholarship opportunities than non GCSC students. Each year through the Gary Educational Development Foundation, over one hundred thousand dollars in scholarships are given exclusively to Gary Community School Corporation graduating seniors. Options offered to children enrolled in our schools are far more diverse and enriching than non-traditional public schools or faith based schools. We want our district to survive and thrive. All public schools are under a microscope and are under threat as to their role as the foundation of our country as a true democracy providing an educated populace. Let’s support the people who will be appointed to bring about the necessary changes to maintain the school district in Gary.
A remnant is what is left. It is also what is used to rebuild and restore. What happens in Gary will once again be a blue print for what happens in education. I look forward to the restoration of the Gary Community School Corporation to a sound academically and financially operating district.
Nellie F. Moore
3rd District Member
Gary Community School