INDIANAPOLIS—On Thursday, Senate Assistant Democratic Leader Eddie Melton (D-Gary) released the following statement in response to the Mayor of Gary’s recent press release on his proposed charter school:

“On January 8, 2021, I kicked off my inaugural radio show on WLTH 1370 AM. The purpose of my show is to keep my constituents informed as we make our way through the 2021 legislative session.

“In the mayor’s release, he loosely mentions a comment that I made on the station, so I would like to clarify.

“During my show, I clearly expressed my opposition to the mayor’s proposed charter school with Purdue University. I stated that I needed to see several things before I would consider pulling my legislation which would pursue a charter school moratorium in the City of Gary.

“Here are the following demands I stated on the radio:

  1. A letter of commitment from Purdue. (Not the letter of interest that was sent.)
  2. Data from the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) showing the academic success of Purdue Polytechnic and their three locations.
  3. Finally, I wanted to hear from the people of the City of Gary on this issue.

“The statement that Purdue released was not a letter of commitment. It was a letter of interest that clearly omitted a commitment to the mayor’s charter school proposal from his State of the City address.”

“No decisions have been made, and in fact, we will not make one until the outcome of the exit of the Gary Community School Corporation from state control has been determined.” – Purdue Polytechnic High School

“This statement clearly contradicts the mayor’s announcement of a charter school opening up in Gary in the fall of 2022. The mayor indicated that a new state-of-the-art school would be built on city land adjacent to Indiana University Northwest.

“The mayor has either falsely characterized this initiative or has prematurely announced a project that neither institution has committed to. As we move forward, I would strongly urge the mayor to work towards being more inclusive and refrain from prematurely announcing projects prior to securing commitment from all parties involved.”

“Given that the Gary council passed a resolution in support of my legislation, and over 60 percent of Gary voters were in favor of the referendum to support the Gary Community School Corporation, I want to reaffirm that I will not withdraw my bill and will be working to get it approved by the legislature. I have an obligation to do what is right for the community of Gary. That is why I’m happy to work with the mayor to figure out how we engage the community on educational policy. It’s going to take the inclusion of educators, families, higher education institutions, faith based communities and corporate partners to come together and work towards building an educational ecosystem that benefits all children in Gary now and in the future.”