MUNCIE, Indiana — Ball State University on Wednesday closed the books on a decision to pull sponsorship of five academically struggling charter schools.
Ball State President Jo Ann Gora approved a review panel's unanimous decision to reject the five schools' appeals. The loss of Ball State's charters could lead to the closure of some of the schools.
Appeal panel leader Melissa Rubrecht said the committee's members used their "deep educational experience and expertise" to review each of the appeals after hearing testimony from the schools and Ball State's Office of Charter Schools.
"They clearly understood the importance of their decisions and made every good-faith effort to make recommendations in the best interest of the students, communities and Ball State," said Rubrecht, Ball State's director of employee relations.
The Imagine Indiana Life Sciences Academy-East in Indianapolis, Richmond's Christmon STEMM Leadership Academy, Gary's LEAD College Preparatory Charter School and two Fort Wayne charter schools — the Imagine Schools on Broadway and the Imagine MASTer Academy — lost their appeals and their charters.
Two other schools — Gary's Charter School of the Dunes and Fort Wayne's Timothy L. Johnson Academy — also had their charters revoked. They had filed appeals but later withdrew them.
Charter schools are alternative public schools that have had more freedom in setting curriculum. State law was changed last year to hold charters to the same academic standards as public schools. Ball State sponsors 42 charter schools in Indiana.
State lawmakers authorized Ball State a decade ago to sponsor charter schools in Indiana and the university approved the first one in 2002. Last year, state lawmakers approved allowing a second office, the Indiana Charter School Board, to authorize charter schools in the state.