INDIANAPOLIS –On Friday, the School City of East Chicago unanimously voted to cut 90 staffing positions in a special session meeting. Superintendent Dee-Etta Wright said the staffing cuts were made as a means to prepare for potential school funding cuts, which Indiana Senate President Pro Tem Rod Bray had threatened to all schools that choose to operate remotely during this pandemic. State Senator Lonnie Randolph (D-East Chicago) had the following response to these staffing cuts:

“The governor and Republican leadership promised schools that teaching remotely to protect students and staff during this pandemic would not lead to funding cuts, and then they went back on their word,” Sen. Randolph said. “Now, schools are in a tough position, where they have to choose between the safety of students and staff or the real possibility of losing 15% of their funding. It’s really appalling that our public schools, which are already stretched too thin, are being forced to scramble last-minute to prepare for the impact of having essential funding stripped away – funding they were initially told they would get to keep.

“The fact that the East Chicago School Board was forced to make the difficult decision to lay-off staffers during this pandemic is extremely unfortunate. This highlights Hoosiers’ fear that Statehouse Republicans won’t follow through on their promises to fully fund our schools. Unfortunately, with the political stunt pulled by Republicans, I fear more schools will be corralled into similarly difficult decisions. That Republican leadership would put our schools in this position in the middle of a world-wide health crisis shows clearly where their priorities and empathies lie.”