Ball State drops seven charter schools across state

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Ball State University announced Tuesday their decision to not renew its contract with seven charter schools across the state, including one school in Indianapolis.

The university currently oversees 42 charter schools and took action on 20 of them Tuesday.  Officials said the decisions were based on careful review of each school as part of its renewal process, which included an extensive review of academic, financial and organizational performance and compliance.

“Painful as it is to close schools, nothing is worse than letting bad schools continue to fail kids,” said David Harris, founder/CEO of The Mind Trust, an education reform group. “Because closing bad schools is rare, we should applaud efforts to do so.”

Based on the review, the university chose to not renew contracts for the following schools:

  • Charter School of the Dunes in Gary
  • Imagine Indiana Life Sciences Academy-East in Indianapolis
  • Imagine MASTer Academy in Fort Wayne
  • Imagine Schools on Broadway in Fort Wayne
  • Kenneth A. Christmon STEMM Leadership Academy in Richmond
  • LEAD College Prepatory Charter School in Gary
  • Timothy L. Johnson Academy in Fort Wayne

The contracts will expire on June 30, 2013.

“We take our authorizer responsibility for ensuring academic quality very seriously,” said Bob Marra, executive director of the Office of Charter Schools (OCS), in a news release. “While we prefer to see these schools succeed, we have determined that their current success or progress isn’t sufficient for seven of our schools. It is our responsibility to not renew the school, which usually leads to closure. While I understand it may cause some short-term difficulty for families, it is a decision made in the long-term best interests of their students.”

The termination of the seven contracts stems from a new accountability framework the OCS implemented last summer.

“None of these schools should be surprised,” said Marra. “We’ve advanced through methodical and iterative steps over the last two years to develop a framework that we believe will drive strong performance in our charter schools. And we’ve been transparently communicating with the schools about it since the summer.”

Click here to see the schools that received five and three-year contract extensions and renewals.