EdisonLearning finds parts of Roosevelt school in disarray

2012-07-02T22:00:00Z 2012-07-04T00:39:38Z EdisonLearning finds parts of Roosevelt school in disarrayBy Carmen McCollum carmen.mccollum@nwi.com, (219) 662-5337 nwitimes.com

GARY | The transfer of Gary Roosevelt keys to EdisonLearning by the Gary Community School Corp. went smoothly Monday morning, except that the elevator doesn't work, the building and classrooms are messy and there is standing water in the school swimming pool.

Even though EdisonLearning officials have been in the school for nearly a year assessing the building, curriculum and technology, there were still a few surprises, said Todd McIntire, EdisonLearning senior vice president, Operations East.

McIntire said the condition of the building is "pretty much" the way it was at the end of the school year.

"The elevator doesn't work, and we'll need to get that fixed," he said. "There was some cleaning done, but there are many rooms and spaces that look as if someone just left."

In addition, the swimming pool, which McIntire said he was told had not been used for a couple of years, had standing water in it.

McIntire said his staff was told the filtration system was turned off in March. He is concerned about mold because the pool is still full of water, he said.

"Our goal would be to use the pool and make it a community resource, but we don't know if we can get it fixed in time for school," he said. "If not, we'll have to drain the pool and get it cleaned up so we don't risk a much bigger cleanup later."

McIntire said he was "pleased and surprised" to see the new Gary Superintendent Cheryl Pruitt on Monday. They had a "good conversation," he said.

Pruitt, who replaced Myrtle Campbell, was in and out of meetings all day — her first day on the job. She said any issues with the pool and the building will be corrected.

"We are going to collaborate and move forward to make sure that things are taken care of," Pruitt said. "Summer school just ended, and I imagine some things may have been in disarray because they had to get out of the building.

"Edison may be there for a few years, and then it (Roosevelt) will come back under the Gary Community School Corp. We want to do everything possible to make sure the school is viable," she said. "From my standpoint, being uncooperative on either side is something that is not going to happen."


Competition continues


There is some dispute between EdisonLearning and Gary schools about student records.

McIntire said Gary officials did not turn over student records. Both have been recruiting students for the fall.

Because the state took over the failing Roosevelt Career/Technical Academy and assigned EdisonLearning as the turnaround operator, Gary school leaders have encouraged students to enroll in Lew Wallace Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics Academy, West Side Leadership Academy and other city schools as an alternative to remaining at Roosevelt.

McIntire said attorneys for the two sides met Friday. He said Gary school leaders removed all the paper records from the building and have not provided Edison with electronic records.

As of Monday, EdisonLearning had enrolled 424 students in the newly named Theodore Roosevelt College and Career Academy.

Stephanie Sample, Indiana Department of Education spokeswoman, said the school district has been advised to hand over data for students who are actively enrolled and those presumed to be enrolled. Those groups include students whose parents officially have enrolled them at Roosevelt and the students whose parents have taken no action to enroll their child in a different school, she said.

A janitorial company will begin cleaning Tuesday. Some new furniture, equipment and materials will be brought into the building.

Paul Tackett, EdisonLearning's regional technology director, said the computers at Roosevelt are 6 years old, and EdisonLearning's standard is to replace computers after five years.

"We'll put all new computers in five to six computer labs, and we'll have mobile labs. The teaching and administrative staff will have laptops. There will be interactive white boards in all of the main classrooms such as math, reading, science and social studies," he said.

McIntire said EdisonLearning's contract with the state is to operate Roosevelt for four years. Sample said executing the final contract could take a few weeks.

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