Overview

As you may have heard, Governor Holcomb has announced that lawmakers will return to the Statehouse on May 14 for a special session to vote on key bills left unfinished after this year’s regular session. HB 1315, the legislation that provides our University with the responsibility of appointing a new school board to manage the Muncie Community Schools (“MCS”), is one of those bills. If this proposed legislation passes, and if our Board of Trustees approves a necessary resolution, then Ball State will assume this responsibility on July 1, 2018.

About the Proposal

Ball State University and Its Potential Assumption of Responsibility for Muncie Community Schools

1. Teachers are critical to the success of MCS and will play a central role in this process.

Nobody at Ball State feels that MCS teachers are responsible for the challenges facing MCS. To the contrary, we have tremendous respect for them and commend their professional and personal dedication to educating our children. We will soon engage MCS teachers to learn more about their ideas for the future. Simply put, dedicated, experienced teachers must be part of the solution.

2. Ball State University has a long-term interest in Muncie.

Our fortunes are linked: as we improve educational outcomes for MCS students, we will be securing an even brighter future for our University. In addition to being consistent with our core mission as a public university, this potential new responsibility is consistent with our institutional interest. The future of Muncie is dependent on the quality of our public schools, and our University’s future is affected by the vitality and vibrancy of Muncie.

3. Change requires a bold solution.

The challenges facing MCS are not new. Having Ball State assume responsibility for MCS will unlock the resources of a major public university and allow us to mobilize our faculty, staff, and students in new and innovative ways. The power of community-wide engagement will yield ideas from MCS teachers, students, and families, and every member of the community who wants to be a part of something transformative. Our leadership and extensive engagement will inspire people from other institutions and organizations to partner with us to provide an exceptional educational experience for the children of Muncie. And it will encourage philanthropic support from individuals and organizations eager to enhance the economic and civic vitality of our region.

Timeline

May 14, 2018

The General Assembly will return to the Statehouse for a special session to vote on key bills left unfinished after this year’s regular session. HB 1315, the legislation that provides Ball State with the responsibility of appointing a new school board to manage the Muncie Community Schools (“MCS”), is one of those bills.

March 14, 2018

The General Assembly concluded its legislative session without conducting final votes on House Bill 1315.

March 6, 2018

The Indiana State Senate passed an amended version of House Bill 1315 by a vote of 35-14.

March 1, 2018

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved an amended House Bill 1315.

February 1, 2018

House Bill 1315 was passed by the Indiana House of Representatives by a vote of 65-26.

January 24, 2018

House Bill 1315 was amended and passed by the House Ways and Means Committee.

January 17, 2018

House Bill 1315 was presented to the House Ways and Means Committee as part of a discussion regarding solutions for MCS and other Indiana schools. The draft amendment to the bill was presented to the House Ways and Means Committee meeting proposing that Ball State University assume responsibility for MCS.

December 15, 2017

At the Ball State Board of Trustees meeting, Board Chairman Rick Hall urged BSU President Geoffrey S. Mearns to follow up on Chairman Vincent’s request by working collaboratively with others inside and outside the University to explore how Ball State could form a deeper relationship with MCS to help the school system address its challenges.

December 13, 2017

The State of Indiana’s Distressed Unit Appeal Board (DUAB) voted 5-0 to take full control of both finances and academics at Muncie Community Schools. In announcing this decision, DUAB Chairman Micah Vincent stated that Ball State University came to his mind first among local institutions regarding potential partnerships for MCS moving forward.

Recent Questions from the Community

Assuming this legislation passes, what happens next?

The Ball State Board of Trustees must first approve having the University assume this new responsibility. Then, we will establish a participatory process for selecting members of the new MCS school board. The newly-appointed school board will begin effective July 1, 2018. Then the newly-appointed board will take the next two years to develop a plan. To do that, we will work collaboratively with all stakeholders — including students, parents, teachers, Ball State faculty, staff and alumni, community businesses, and organizations.

Ball State will be collaborative and draw on its extensive knowledge of education. There are many talented and committed people in MCS and in Muncie, and we will enlist their support. Ball State University is uniquely qualified to assume this responsibility. It’s an extension of our existing engagement with MCS and the Muncie community at a much deeper level. And this new responsibility is consistent with our mission of preparing teachers; developing and disseminating innovative academic practices; preparing and inspiring students to lead meaningful lives; improving the quality of life for the residents of Delaware County.

How will the new arrangement ensure continued local input on MCS?

We cannot stress enough that collaboration with the Muncie community — students, parents, teachers, civic organizations, the business community, and anyone else that wants to work with us — is at the very heart of this effort. Collaboration is the key to success. This is not a Ball State plan. It is a community plan. We are eager to continue this community engagement process.

How long will Ball State be responsible for Muncie Community Schools?

Ball State is committed to MCS’ long-term success. This opportunity is a significant challenge, and it requires a long-term commitment. At our request, the legislation includes a two-year period to develop a plan. The first year is devote solely to engaging with the community.

The children of MCS are our children. And like every child, they deserve a great education and our unconditional and unwavering commitment.

Recent Media Coverage and Statements

 

Interview with Indiana Public Radio

BSU President Mearns: “A Historic Opportunity” To Fix Muncie Schools

President Mearns sat down with Indiana Public Radio's Stan Sollars to discuss the Proposal.

Listen to Interview

More Multimedia

WLBC - BSU/MCS: The Facts: Steve Lindell interviews President Mearns (Audio)

Statements of Support

"It will be a difficult balancing act as Ball State will be responsible for both the success of Muncie Community Schools and Ball State students, but from what I have seen from the university recently, I think it is an institution that is up to the task."—Ball State Alum

"As a Burris School 'lifer' and Ball State University graduate, I am excited for the future of Muncie Community Schools under the leadership of BSU. My education and experiences have shaped who I am and how I lead as an Indiana public school superintendent. The potential and possibilities are amazing! I think I need to return to Muncie!"—Indiana Public School Superintendent

"As an alumna, I just want to voice my support and think this is an amazing opportunity with Ball State is uniquely positioned to help the entire community of Muncie by taking on this level of responsibility. It is a great chance to show the power of such a relationship and I am hopeful this passes all the necessary channels so you can create the blueprint for a new strategy for improving academics during the important formative years. Keep on innovating and good luck!"—Ball State Alum

"What a wonderful opportunity for both MCS and Ball State University."—Ball State Alum and Retired Educator

"The potential and possibilities are amazing!"—Indiana educator

"It is a great chance to show the power of such a relationship and I am hopeful this passes."—Ball State Alum

"I am excited about the proposal and believe this partnership will be an extraordinary new beginning for MCS."—MCS and Ball State Alum

"As a parent in the Muncie Community Schools, I’ve been apprehensive about the future of our school system for nearly two years, and this proposal promises to finally offer us long term stability, I fully support this proposal."MCS Parent

"This is incredibly wonderful! We greatly appreciate Ball State’s leadership and willingness to step in and make a difference in the lives of children in our community."Business Leader

"This is fantastic!"Community Advocate

"This is a brilliant idea!"—Ball State Faculty Member

"Congratulations! This is great news. Thank you for thinking outside the box to bring a solution to the table."—Business Leader

"I admire you and the BSU Trustees for taking this bold step to improve the quality of education for the children of Muncie."—Former Muncie Teacher

"President Mearns, what a terrific opportunity this is to marry this great University with the city, Muncie families, teachers, and businesses leaders."—Alum

"Wow! This is huge! So glad my alma mater is stepping up to help Muncie Community Schools! Proud to be a two-time Cardinal grad!! #BSU"—Alum

"This is a tremendous undertaking. I'm proud of @BallState for taking initiative and trying to foster growth in the community."—Ball State Student

"@BallState @PresidentMearns Please, this will be good for both BSU & MCS. Support this bill in the legislature."—Community Member

"I am excited to see how this opportunity unfolds. I see landmark options for public education & I'm proud to be a BSU grad."—Alum

Quick Facts

About Ball State University
  • Founded in 1918 and located in Muncie, Ball State is one of Indiana’s signature universities and an economic driver for the state.
  • The University’s 2017-18 enrollment – 22,513 – is the largest in school history and its incoming freshman class of 4,002 is just three students shy of another school record. Every Indiana county is represented among Ball State’s student body, as are all 50 states and 69 countries.
  • Ball State’s 1,140-acre campus is large enough to accommodate premier facilities and 19 NCAA Division 1 sports, but small enough to ensure the friendliness, personal attention and access that are the hallmarks of the University, where 90% of classes are taught by faculty.
  • Ball State will have its smallest tuition increase in 41 years for fiscal years 2018 and 2019.
About Burris Laboratory School
  • Burris was founded in 1929 as part of Teachers College, Ball State University and the Muncie Schools.
  • In 1974, Burris became a separate school district with the entire state of Indiana as its enrollment district. In 1990, Burris, with the addition of the Indiana Academy of Science, Mathematics, and Humanities, became part of University Schools. In 2004, Burris and the Indiana Academy became separate school corporations. Burris is the only school in the Burris Laboratory School Corporation.
  • As Burris does not have a school board, the Ball State University Board of Trustees is the ultimate authority for school policies.
  • Burris is a department of the BSU Teachers College.
  • As its mission, Burris
    • Provides the development, demonstration, and dissemination of effective and innovative teaching practices.
    • Offers an exemplary pre-service clinical program for teaching majors.
    • Accommodates research and operates an educationally sound instructional program for its K-12 population.
About the Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics and Humanities
  • The Indiana Academy was founded in 1988 by the Indiana General Assembly and is operated by Ball State University as a school devoted to the education of students who demonstrate extraordinary intellectual ability and a commitment to scholarship.
  • It is located on the campus of Ball State University.
  • Indiana Academy is accredited by the Indiana Department of Education as a Freeway School, is a member of the National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and is compliant with NACAC “Statement of Principles of Good Practice.”
  • Indiana Academy has two purposes that are central to its mission
    • To serve as a residential high school for approximately 300 gifted and talented juniors and seniors from across the state of Indiana.
    • Through various outreach programs, Indiana Academy strives to stimulate and enable vitality in educational programs for academically gifted students and teachers.
  • According to the 2018 U.S.A. Niche Rankings, Indiana Academy is the
    • Number one public high school in Indiana
    • Has the fourth best public high school teachers in the country
    • Is in the top 20 of public high schools in the country