Charter school nonrenewal decisions affirmed, final

Topics: President, Teachers College

May 15, 2013

Ball State has notified five charter schools that decisions not to renew their contracts have been affirmed by President Jo Ann M. Gora, upon the recommendation of the Ball State University Charter Schools Hearing Panel.

On Jan. 18, the university notified seven schools that their charters would not be renewed upon expiration of their contracts on June 30. The decisions were based upon a careful review of each school as part of its scheduled renewal process. The process included an extensive review of academic, financial and organizational performance, and compliance. It also provided each school a meaningful opportunity to present additional information about its overall performance in a charter renewal application.

The charter renewal review process allows for schools to request reconsideration of the university’s nonrenewal decision. All seven of the charter schools slated for nonrenewal initially requested reconsideration. Charter School of the Dunes in Gary, Ind., and Timothy L. Johnson Academy in Fort Wayne, Ind., subsequently withdrew their requests for reconsideration. Today’s notification brings closure to the nonrenewal of contracts for:

  • Imagine Indiana Life Sciences Academy-East, Indianapolis
  • Imagine MASTer Academy, Fort Wayne
  • Imagine Schools on Broadway, Fort Wayne
  • Kenneth A. Christmon STEMM Leadership Academy, Richmond, Ind.
  • LEAD College Preparatory Charter School, Gary

At each hearing, testimony from both the school and the Office of Charter Schools (OCS) was heard and considered by the Ball State University Charter Schools Hearing Panel. Based on this information, the panel submitted a unanimous recommendation for each school to Gora, who has affirmed all five recommendations. The president’s decision is final.

The hearing panel comprised:

  • Melissa Rubrecht, director of employee relations at Ball State, appointed by Gora as the hearing officer. The hearing officer is a nonvoting position in the hearing process. She was selected to organize and oversee the hearing process based upon her long and proficient experience in handling internal hearings for the university.
  • Glenda Hott, independent consultant, The Infino Group, Floyds Knobs, Ind.
  • Joseph McKinney, professor of educational leadership and chair of the department of educational leadership, Ball State
  • Mary Jo Rattermann, owner, Research and Evaluation Resources, Indianapolis
  • Jacqueline Scott-English, CEO and independent consultant, Bay Education Associates, Washington, D.C.

“The deep educational experience and expertise of the panel members were invaluable in weighing the evidence before them,” said Rubrecht. “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. I appreciate the time and expertise that they generously provided.”

On Jan. 18, Ball State notified 20 of its charter schools of decisions regarding their charter school renewal status with the university. In addition to the seven schools that did not receive contract renewals, four received five-year renewals, seven received three-year contract extensions and two withdrew their requests for renewal.

Previously, Ball State had terminated authorization for one school, Urban Brightest in Fort Wayne, in 2004.

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