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Gary Community Schools seeking input on proposed middle school closures

Gary Community School Corporation

The Gary Community School Corporation is taking input on its plans to close its two middle schools. The first community forum on the "district sustainability" recommendations will be held Tuesday, October 24 at 5:30 p.m. at the Gary Area Career Center. Parents can also comment in an online survey.

The biggest proposed change is to close the two middle schools, moving sixth-graders back to elementary schools and seventh- and eighth-graders to West Side Leadership Academy. District manager Dr. Michael Raisor told the school board that would reduce costs and improve the utilization level of the remaining buildings.

The proposal is drawing criticism from State Representative Vernon Smith (D-Gary). In a statement Tuesday, Smith argued that "throwing young students in with highschoolers could have major consequences for both social development and academic performance." He worries that the "uneven power dynamic" would "result in bullying or negative peer pressure."

Smith encourages parents, teachers and students to give their input.