2018 Indiana Code
TITLE 6. Taxation
ARTICLE 1.1. PROPERTY TAXES
CHAPTER 20.3. Distressed Political Subdivisions
6-1.1-20.3-6.8. Designation of Gary Community School Corporation as a distressed political subdivision; powers and duties

IC 6-1.1-20.3-6.8 Designation of Gary Community School Corporation as a distressed political subdivision; powers and duties

     Sec. 6.8. (a) This section applies only to the Gary Community School Corporation.

     (b) The general assembly finds that the provisions of this section:

(1) are necessary to address the unique issues faced by the Gary Community School Corporation; and

(2) are not precedent for and may not be appropriate for addressing issues faced by other school corporations.

     (c) As used in this section, the following definitions apply:

(1) "Chief academic officer" means the chief academic officer appointed under subsection (j).

(2) "Chief financial officer" means the chief financial officer appointed under subsection (i).

(3) "School corporation" refers to the Gary Community School Corporation.

     (d) The Gary Community School Corporation is designated as a distressed political subdivision for purposes of this chapter until the school corporation's designation as a distressed political subdivision is terminated as provided in section 13(b) of this chapter. This designation as a distressed political subdivision is effective regardless of whether the school corporation has submitted a petition requesting to be designated as a distressed political subdivision. Until the school corporation's designation as a distressed political subdivision is terminated as provided in section 13(b) of this chapter, the Gary Community Schools advisory board may not hold a public meeting more often than once every three (3) months. This limit on the number of meetings of the advisory board does not apply to the emergency manager. The emergency manager shall hold a monthly forum to provide an update on the Gary Community School Corporation within the school district that is open to the general public. During the period that the Gary Community School Corporation is designated as a distressed political subdivision, the advisory board may vote to:

(1) fill vacancies;

(2) select officers; or

(3) make appointments;

of the advisory board, and to present awards, recognition, and certificates to employees or supporters of the school corporation.

     (e) Until the school corporation's designation as a distressed political subdivision is terminated as provided in section 13(b) of this chapter, the following apply to the emergency manager appointed under section 7.5 of this chapter for the school corporation:

(1) The emergency manager has the powers and duties specified in this chapter.

(2) The emergency manager shall consider recommendations from the fiscal management board and the advisory board, but the emergency manager has full responsibility and authority related to financial and academic matters of the school corporation, and the emergency manager may act, as specified in this chapter, on these financial and academic matters without the approval of the fiscal management board or the advisory board.

(3) Notwithstanding section 7.5(d) of this chapter, the distressed unit appeal board shall:

(A) determine the compensation of the emergency manager, chief financial officer, and chief academic officer; and

(B) subject to subsections (i) and (j), pay the emergency manager's, chief financial officer's, and chief academic officer's compensation and reimburse the emergency manager, chief financial officer, and chief academic officer for actual and necessary expenses from funds appropriated to the distressed unit appeal board.

(4) Before appointing the emergency manager, the distressed unit appeal board shall interview at least one (1) resident of the city of Gary as a candidate for the position. If the distressed unit appeal board is not able to interview a resident of the city of Gary as a candidate for the position, the distressed unit appeal board shall interview at least one (1) individual who is a resident of Lake County or northwest Indiana as a candidate for the position.

The appointment of the emergency manager for the school corporation is terminated on the date the school corporation's designation as a distressed political subdivision is terminated as provided in section 13(b) of this chapter.

     (f) In addition to any other actions that the distressed unit appeal board may take under this chapter concerning a distressed political subdivision, for a distressed school corporation, the distressed unit appeal board may also do any of the following:

(1) The distressed unit appeal board may delay or suspend, for a period determined by the board, any payments of principal or interest, or both, that would otherwise be due from the school corporation on loans or advances from the common school fund.

(2) The distressed unit appeal board may recommend to the state board of finance that the state board of finance make an interest free loan to the school corporation from the common school fund. The distressed unit appeal board shall determine the payment schedule and the commencement date for the loan. If the distressed unit appeal board makes a recommendation that such a loan be made, the state board of finance may, notwithstanding IC 20-49, make such a loan for a term of not more than ten (10) years.

(3) The distressed unit appeal board may establish benchmarks of financial improvement for the school corporation.

(4) The distressed unit appeal board may provide a grant or grants to the school corporation from funds appropriated to the distressed unit appeal board, in amounts determined by the distressed unit appeal board, to assist the school corporation in overcoming short term financial problems.

(5) The distressed unit appeal board may make a recommendation to the general assembly concerning the possible restructuring of advances made to the school corporation from the common school fund, including forgiveness of principal and interest on those advances.

     (g) The fiscal management board is established. The fiscal management board consists of the following members:

(1) One (1) member appointed by the advisory board.

(2) One (1) member appointed by the mayor of the city of Gary.

(3) One (1) member, who must have experience working with or for an urban school corporation, appointed by the superintendent of public instruction.

(4) One (1) member, who must have experience working with or for an urban school corporation, appointed by the state board of education.

     (h) The following apply to the fiscal management board and to the members of the fiscal management board:

(1) The term of office of a member of the fiscal management board is four (4) years, beginning on the date of appointment. A member of the fiscal management board may be reappointed to the fiscal management board. A member of the fiscal management board may be removed for cause by the appointing authority.

(2) A member of the fiscal management board must have the following:

(A) At least three (3) years experience in financial management.

(B) A meaningful background and work experience in finance and business.

(C) An understanding of government contracts.

(D) Knowledge and experience in organizational effectiveness, operations management, and implementing best practices.

(E) Experience in budget development and oversight.

(F) A demonstrated commitment to high professional and ethical standards and a diverse workplace.

(G) An understanding of tax and other compliance implications.

(3) A member of the advisory board may not serve as a member of the fiscal management board.

(4) The fiscal management board:

(A) shall make recommendations to the emergency manager; and

(B) shall advise the emergency manager as requested by the emergency manager.

(5) The members of the fiscal management board are not entitled to any compensation for their service on the fiscal management board.

(6) The fiscal management board is abolished, and the terms of the members of the fiscal management board are terminated, on the date the school corporation's designation as a distressed political subdivision is terminated as provided in section 13(b) of this chapter.

(7) Under the supervision of the emergency manager, the fiscal management board shall serve as a liaison to and shall work jointly with the distressed unit appeal board, the mayor of the city of Gary, and the department of education to develop a transition plan to address issues or questions related to:

(A) the designation of the school corporation as a distressed political subdivision and the transfer of powers and duties to the emergency manager under this chapter; and

(B) the potential impact of the transition on the community and the school corporation.

(8) Under the supervision of the emergency manager, the fiscal management board shall work jointly with the distressed unit appeal board, the mayor of the city of Gary, and the department of education to provide information on a regular basis to parents, students, employees of the school corporation, and the public on the status of the transition.

     (i) The emergency manager shall employ a chief financial officer for the school corporation. The chief financial officer is an employee of the school corporation. The chief financial officer shall report to the emergency manager and shall assist the emergency manager appointed for the school corporation and the fiscal management board in carrying out the day to day financial operations of the school corporation. Before July 1, 2019, the compensation of the chief financial officer shall be determined by the distressed unit appeal board. Before July 1, 2019, the compensation of the chief financial officer shall be paid from the funds appropriated to the distressed unit appeal board. After June 30, 2019, the compensation of the chief financial officer shall be determined by and paid by the school corporation. The chief financial officer:

(1) must possess, through both education and experience, an understanding of finance and financial management; and

(2) must possess any other experience and must meet any other requirements as required by the distressed unit appeal board to ensure that the chief financial officer is qualified to carry out the financial restructuring of the school corporation.

Before employing a chief financial officer under this subsection, the emergency manager shall interview at least one (1) resident of the city of Gary as a candidate for the position. If the emergency manager is not able to interview a resident of the city of Gary as a candidate for the position, the emergency manager shall interview at least one (1) individual who is a resident of Lake County or northwest Indiana as a candidate for the position.

     (j) The emergency manager shall employ a chief academic officer for the school corporation, after consultation with the department of education, who must have experience working with or for an urban school corporation. The chief academic officer is an employee of the school corporation. The chief academic officer shall report to the emergency manager and shall assist the emergency manager appointed for the school corporation and the fiscal management board in carrying out the academic matters of the school corporation. Before July 1, 2019, the compensation of the chief academic officer shall be determined by the distressed unit appeal board. Before July 1, 2019, the compensation of the chief academic officer shall be paid from the funds appropriated to the distressed unit appeal board. After June 30, 2019, the compensation of the chief academic officer shall be determined by and paid by the school corporation. The chief academic officer must:

(1) hold a valid license to teach in a public school under IC 20-28-5;

(2) possess, through both education and experience, an understanding of curriculum and academics; and

(3) possess any other experience and meet any other requirements as required by the distressed unit appeal board to ensure that the chief academic officer is qualified to carry out the academic goals of the school corporation.

Before employing a chief academic officer under this subsection, the emergency manager shall interview at least one (1) resident of the city of Gary as a candidate for the position. If the emergency manager is not able to interview a resident of the city of Gary as a candidate for the position, the emergency manager shall interview at least one (1) individual who is a resident of Lake County or northwest Indiana as a candidate for the position.

     (k) The chief financial officer and chief academic officer shall assist the emergency manager in carrying out the emergency manager's duties under this chapter.

     (l) The annual budget adopted by the emergency manager for the school corporation must dedicate a significant part of the school corporation's budget to eliminating the school corporation's outstanding financial obligations. The emergency manager shall attempt to negotiate with the creditors of the school corporation to establish a plan specifying the schedule for paying each creditor. The emergency manager shall submit the plan to the distressed unit appeal board for approval. The distressed unit appeal board must:

(1) review the plan submitted by the emergency manager; and

(2) not later than sixty (60) days after the plan is submitted, either:

(A) approve the plan as submitted by the emergency manager; or

(B) modify the plan as submitted by the emergency manager and then approve the modified plan.

     (m) The emergency manager shall consider any recommendations from the fiscal management board, the advisory board, and the mayor of the city of Gary in developing the school corporation's annual budget. The distressed unit appeal board must review and approve the school corporation's annual budget that is proposed by the emergency manager. When the emergency manager submits the school corporation's proposed annual budget to the distressed unit appeal board, the emergency manager shall provide copies of the proposed annual budget to the fiscal management board and the advisory board.

     (n) After considering any recommendations from the fiscal management board, the advisory board, and the mayor of the city of Gary, the emergency manager shall do the following:

(1) Conduct a financial and compliance audit of the operations of the school corporation.

(2) Develop a written financial plan for the school corporation. The object of the plan must be to achieve financial stability for the school corporation, and the plan must include provisions for paying all of the school corporation's outstanding obligations and for paying all future obligations of the school corporation (including any federal, state, or local taxes or assessments) in a timely manner.

     (o) In addition to the report required by section 8.5(c)(5) of this chapter, the emergency manager, the chief financial officer, and the chief academic officer shall report quarterly to the distressed unit appeal board in a format specified by the distressed unit appeal board. The report must include:

(1) information concerning the actions that the school corporation is taking to improve the financial condition of the school corporation; and

(2) any other information required by the distressed unit appeal board.

The emergency manager shall report more frequently than quarterly if requested by the distressed unit appeal board. The emergency manager shall provide copies of the report to the fiscal management board, the advisory board, and the mayor of the city of Gary. The emergency manager shall present each report at a public meeting of the fiscal management board.

     (p) The school corporation shall do the following:

(1) Publish a copy of each report under subsection (o) on the school corporation's Internet web site, along with a link to the main page of the Indiana transparency Internet web site established under IC 5-14-3.7 to provide access to financial data for local schools.

(2) Make copies of each report available free of charge to the public upon request.

(3) Provide copies of each report to the mayor of the city of Gary. The mayor shall make copies of the reports available free of charge to the public upon request.

     (q) The chief academic officer shall develop an education plan to provide academic services to students in the school corporation and to achieve academic progress. The education plan must include at least the following components:

(1) An academic program designed to meet Indiana's academic standards and to assist students in meeting those academic standards.

(2) A plan to improve the academic performance of all students, including improvement in the performance of students on standardized tests.

(3) A plan to engage parents in school performance and school activities, including regular meetings at each school involving administrators, teachers, parents, and interested members of the community.

(4) A plan to implement performance standards that will attract students and families to the school corporation.

(5) A plan specifying how the school corporation will work directly with the city of Gary:

(A) to make the schools a successful component of life within the city; and

(B) to develop a sense of pride and progress in the operations and accomplishments of the school corporation.

The chief financial officer and the chief academic officer shall submit a report to the advisory board each quarter. The chief financial officer and chief academic officer shall meet at least quarterly with the executive committee of the bargaining unit to inform the executive committee of the academic progress of the school corporation.

As added by P.L.241-2017, SEC.8. Amended by P.L.213-2018(ss), SEC.5.

 

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