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Ball State Control of School District Wins OK

May 21, 2018
 
 

Ball State University is officially taking over the financially challenged local school district in its home of Muncie, Ind., after the state’s governor signed a measure last week that was approved during a special legislative session.

The university’s board then voted to take on the task of running the district Wednesday. Ball State will appoint a seven-member school board for Muncie by July 1. That university-appointed board will operate Muncie Community Schools.

“They do not report to me,” Ball State President Geoffrey Mearns said, according to Indiana Public Media. “They’ll report to the public.  They are a public school board, they’ll have public meetings the way any school board would.  Again, the only difference is how they get to that seat, not how they operate once they’re in that position.”

Ball State leaders had expected the plan to pass earlier this year because it was being advanced by Indiana’s Republican-controlled legislature. It proved divisive amid concerns about local control and union rights, and time ran out on the takeover plan before lawmakers could approve it during their scheduled 2018 session, which ended in March.

The legislation that ultimately passed gives Ball State the choice between recognizing or not recognizing the existing Muncie Teachers Association as the collective-bargaining agent for teachers, The Star-Press reported. Ball State will chose one school board member from a group of three nominees chosen by the Muncie mayor and one from a group of three nominated by its city council.

Ball State’s interim provost, Marilyn Buck, will be the university’s main liaison to the school system.

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