The Gazette has learned that Trustee Deb White’s secret committee will recommend closure of Gavit and Clark High Schools tonight. Residents are encouraged to attend the meeting tonight at 5:30 at 41 Williams Street.
December 11, 2018-The Gazette has learned exclusively that Deb White’s secret committee reports will be available at tonight’s public work session. According to the source, the Board of School Trustees will reveal 3 recommendations and that each of them will involve permanently closing Gavit High School and Clark High School. Middle schools would also be combined. Scott Middle students would go to the new Gavit Middle School and Clark Middle School students would be transported to the new Hammond High/Middle School. Clark would be sold to the City of Hammond and would be demolished.
UPDATE: Mayor McDermott has stated his Administration had no part in the discussions regarding the closure of any schools. The report stated that the School City would “Develop partnerships with the City of Hammond” on vacant properties.” The City of Hammond is a separate entity from the School City of Hammond which is governed by an independent Board of Trustees.
During the election, Trustee Deb White denied that she had a secret committee and, only after prodding from the Gazette, published notice of the meetings on the school website. Despite that, residents were not made aware of how the committee was selected, who was on the committee or what information the committee was provided in order to make recommendations. During the election, Trustee Anna Mamala referred to rumors that Gavit would close as “hype” and state unequivocally that Gavit would not close:
While the proposal is simply the first step in the school closure process, the proposal completely fails to address issues associated with the Area Career Center which will require $40M in repairs to remain open. During the election, current school board members utlized the Area Career Center as a political football in a failed attempt to try to save their seats. Trustee Cindy White emphatically stated that the Area Career Center building would not be closed at a public forum. Now the Board of Trustees will bus middle schoolers halfway across the City to cut costs while keepting the dilapidated Area Career Center building open. The public may question the process based on the secrecy of meetings, the stated intention to not look at certain cost saving measures, and the desire of the City of Hammond to obtain the Clark High School property.
The public is invited to hear the proposals and participate in the decision-making process beginning tonight at 5:30 pm at the School Administration building, 41 Williams Street.