Gary, EdisonLearning reach agreement on Roosevelt

2013-02-15T18:15:00Z 2013-02-16T01:08:06Z Gary, EdisonLearning reach agreement on RooseveltCarmen McCollum carmen.mccollum@nwi.com, (219) 662-5337 nwitimes.com

GARY | A hearing in Marion County Superior Court over maintenance and repairs at Gary Roosevelt was postponed Friday after the sides reached agreement, just before going into court.

Todd McIntire, senior vice president of EdisonLearning, which operates Gary Roosevelt College and Career Academy, said the hearing before Judge John Hanley was postponed.

"We reached an agreement before going into court," McIntire said by cellphone from Indianapolis. "The Gary Community School Corp. has agreed to station an engineer at the school to operate the heating unit. They are going to continue with the repairs. We are scheduled to meet again Wednesday to develop a long-term agreement."

McIntire was not sure if that meeting would take place in Gary or Indianapolis. He said it could be Indianapolis, because the Indiana Department of Education will be involved in the meeting.

Tennessee-based management company EdisonLearning was appointed by the Indiana Department of Education to operate the failing Roosevelt academy a couple of years ago. It developed a plan of operation the first year and completely took over the day-to-day operation of the school last fall. The Gary Community School Corp. remains the landlord.

Since that time, EdisonLearning officials have said the building has a number of maintenance issues, including lack of heat, cracked and broken valves and flooding. The heating problem caused the school to be closed for four consecutive days last month, with nearly 700 students missing classes.

McIntire said the company is still working on the issue of leadership at Roosevelt. In a surprise move, school Principal Terrance Little accepted a job with the Gary Community School Corp.

McIntire said the Roosevelt school board met Thursday night and gave Superintendent Vanessa Ronketto, who is also an EdisonLearning leader, authority to appoint a new principal.

Little, who could not be reached for comment, was hired as a transformation specialist in the Gary schools. The position, which pays $90,000 for six months, lasts from March to September. It is one of three positions the Gary district intends to put in place to turn around its failing schools.

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