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Muncie Community School board set to notify state it intends to stop busing in July 2018


MUNCIE, Indiana — The Muncie Community School board will likely vote next week to notify the Indiana Department of Education of its intention to cancel busing in three years, the district said Friday.

The state requires schools to notify the department and their local communities three years in advance of canceling busing. Filing a notification does not necessarily mean the Muncie schools will cut busing in July 2018.

The school board released a statement saying it and the administration recognize the problems that cutting busing would cause, and they hope to avoid it, The Star Press reported (http://tspne.ws/1Cv3Mrt ). The vote is scheduled for Tuesday.

"A legislative solution will hopefully be in place in time to avoid the Muncie Community School's potential loss of $3 million, but MCS must act now in case a solution is not developed," the statement reads.

The district currently depends on a state waiver that allows it to keep $3.3 million in its transportation fund, but the waiver is due expire in 2016. Without the waiver, the district would have only enough money to run special education buses.

The Muncie schools would become the fourth Indiana district to send such notification since the state made the option available in 2012.

Mark Burkhart, the district's former chief financial officer, encouraged the board to provide the notification to send a message to lawmakers that the district needs help.

It faced a similar dilemma before the waiver was created a few years ago when a 2013 change in budget requirements meant the district would have $400,000 for transportation. The district tried to get a referendum passed, but voters rejected it.

Later, the Indiana General Assembly created a three-year waiver to help districts that were struggling to pay for transportation. The district has used the waiver for two years.

Information from: The Star Press, http://www.thestarpress.com

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