Ivy Tech Community College will no longer administer Indiana’s prison GED programs. The Department of Corrections and Ivy Tech allowed their two-year contract to expire on July 1 after disagreements over funding and staffing.
Representatives say that’s because the DOC wanted more staff for the program but couldn’t allocate more funding to pay for it. The program costs about 6.5 million dollars each year.
Before the partnership with Ivy Tech, the DOC used to staff the program itself. Ivy Tech Corporate College President Matt Bell says when the college took over the program, they were able to do it with less money, and they have continued to cut costs while they have had the contract.
“There are significantly fewer instructors working today than were working in the past, and that was really a contractual choice that was made by our partners in the DOC,” he says.
Bell says Ivy Tech calculates it was saving the Department of Corrections more than 10 million dollars each year.
Department of Corrections education director John Nally says several colleges are in the running to replace Ivy Tech as the new GED program provider and that, in choosing a provider, they’ll still be looking for a college willing to employ more staff at a low cost.
“I think that’s the crux of the matter,” he says. “My understanding is in the negotiations you were dealing with two items. One you had a budget that couldn’t expand very much beyond what it already was in the line item. And the second thing is was then could the current vendor help us by providing more teachers within that financial constraint.”
Nally says the DOC could sign contracts with multiple colleges to cover the programs. Ivy Tech employs more than 60 people who are responsible for the GED program. Nally says the DOC will offer jobs to those employees.
Matt Bell says, as for Ivy Tech, they are interested in continuing to educate people who have served prison sentences but that those programs might have to happen outside the prison and after their sentences are completed.