EdisonLearning files suit against Gary schools
By Christin Nance Lazerus email@example.com July 26, 2012 2:04PM
Updated: August 28, 2012 6:15AM
EdisonLearning has filed a lawsuit against Gary Community School Corp. alleging that the district has yet to turn over all relevant Roosevelt Career and Technical Academy student records, respond to maintenance needs and provide students with adequate transportation.
But Gary officials say they’ve turned over all student transcripts and other records and Roosevelt’s maintenance issues are dealt with when a work order is received.
State officials put Roosevelt in the hands of a turnaround operator when the school failed to meet several academic benchmarks. Turnaround operator EdisonLearning signed a four-year contract with the Indiana Department of Education last week to run the school for the next four years.
EdisonLearning senior vice president for operations Todd McIntire said officials are going through 56 boxes of records, which were delivered Wednesday morning. McIntire said the building has experienced air conditioning outages in various rooms, bricks are crumbling in the gymnasium, and flooding occurred in the D building this week.
Representatives from the company meet with Gary officials regularly, but the problems aren’t being resolved fast enough, McIntire said.
“We’re not going to be able to fulfill the contract with the state unless some of these issues are resolved,” McIntire said.
Gary Superintendent Cheryl Pruitt said that the district couldn’t hand over student records until EdisonLearning signed its contract last week or it would run afoul of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.
“As soon as they signed the contract, we began working to get the files ready. The records were moved in an orderly manner, and they signed an affidavit saying that they received certain records,” Pruitt said.
She said the boxes included a list of all Roosevelt students who attended in the 2011-12 school year, along with addresses, transcripts, test results, health records, laptops and other documents.
As for maintenance problems inside Roosevelt, Pruitt said EdisonLearning officials have contacted Gary about the issues, but simply making calls won’t make the problems get resolved any faster. She said the district has only so many employees to deal with problems at all of its buildings.
“If we’ve providing maintenance, they must follow the work order process,” Pruitt said.
Pruitt said attorneys for the district and EdisonLearning are still working out transportation and other issues.
“Our primary focus is the students,” Pruitt said. “We didn’t want to turn over the records until the contract was finalized.”