The Gary Community School Corporation (GCSC) today shared its high-level strategy to spend $71 million of one-time federal funding. The plan focuses on five priorities, with academics being the highest.
GCSC will immediately put these dollars to work to support student learning. This summer, all GCSC students are invited to participate in STEM Summer Camp. Starting June 7, students will be able to learn robotics, coding, and core subjects from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. from Monday through Friday. Students who will be entering grades K-12 can participate, and breakfast, lunch, and transportation will all be provided. Families can sign up by calling 219-881-5466 or contacting their child’s school.
“This federal support builds on the progress we’ve made on finances and the improvements we’re making with facilities and allows us to really double-down on academics,” said Dr. Paige McNulty, GCSC Manager. “We appreciate the support from Congressman Frank Mrvan to help make this funding possible. This is an extraordinary opportunity for our students and staff, and we’re going to seize it.”
Two goals guided GCSC’s process for developing its strategy for using the federal funds: continue improving academics and continue building a sustainable district. Based on these priorities, the GCSC administration developed five categories for the spending plan: instruction, technology, facilities, equipment, and personnel.
GCSC shared its academics-focused plan at today’s meeting of the Distressed Unit Appeal Board (DUAB). Also during the meeting, DUAB approved several contracts, including one with McGraw-Hill to integrate a new reading curriculum across grades K-12. The physical and digital resources are aligned across grade bands, which will help students grow from one grade to the next.
At a future DUAB meeting, GCSC expects to share a more detailed spending plan with representative programs and initiatives, timelines for expenditures, metrics to measure the success of representative programs or initiatives, the desired outcomes of representative programs or initiatives, and the anticipated lifespan of representative programs and initiatives.
This infusion of funding comes as GCSC has been making great strides with its finances and its facilities. The district recently announced that its annual deficit, which hit $22 million in August 2017, is now under $2 million. Additionally, in November, Gary voters approved an operating referendum for the schools with more than 60 percent of the vote, leading to more funding for student support as well as the first raise for teachers in more than 10 years. GCSC is also modernizing its school buildings through a $25 million School Improvement Fund.