EdisonLearning sues Gary school district

2012-07-25T22:00:00Z 2012-07-26T13:11:53Z EdisonLearning sues Gary school districtCarmen McCollum carmen.mccollum@nwi.com, (219) 662-5337 nwitimes.com

EdisonLearning has filed a lawsuit in Marion County Superior Court against the Gary Community School Corp. to force the school district to turn over student records.

EdisonLearning, a for-profit education management company that has relocated its headquarters to Knoxville, Tenn., was appointed to operate Gary's Roosevelt College and Career Academy last summer by the Indiana Department of Education. The state removed the high school from the Gary Community School Corp. after the school was on probation for six consecutive years. Roosevelt is one of seven schools taken over by the state.

Todd McIntire, senior vice president for EdisonLearning, said the lawsuit, filed Monday, requires the district to release student records and provide Edison with services as required by law, including transportation and maintenance of the school.

McIntire said the company is represented by attorney Tom Wheeler with Indianapolis-based Frost Brown Todd. He said the suit was filed in Indianapolis because the company is acting on behalf of the Indiana Department of Education. Wheeler could not be reached for comment.

Gary attorney Robert Lewis, who represents the school district, said his firm received the lawsuit Tuesday. "We are reviewing it. I don't know the basis for any lawsuit. We are reviewing it and will respond accordingly," he said.

McIntire said the district provided some student records to EdisonLearning on Wednesday morning, and Edison officials are auditing the records to determine exactly what it has.

"It's too early to say what we have received and what we haven't received," he said. "We're going through them now. Transportation is connected to the records, and we can't develop transportation until we have all of the student records. Maintenance is an ongoing problem. We are getting very little response on some issues which are urgent, like the bricks falling off the building around the gym, and the elevator — which still doesn't work."

McIntire said the HVAC system fails on a daily basis, and there are a number of spaces with no ventilation.

"There was significant flooding in the building after the rains last week," he said. "We have not been successful in getting the school corporation to address these issues or a date when they will get to them."

McIntire continues to meet weekly with new Gary Community School Corp. Superintendent Cheryl Pruitt.

"She has been cooperative and addressed a number of issues, but the issues that we mentioned in the complaint do not seem to be moving forward," McIntire said.

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