Ball State University pulls its charter from east side school

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It is a school with more than 600 students kindergarten through 8th grade, but low test scores and an “F” letter grade have led to action from Ball State University. Imagine East will be closing its doors for good.

Parent Jermaine Hudnall had no idea.

“When you were telling me that it was closing down it was a shocker to me,” said Hudnall.

Hundnall’s two kids go to Imagine East charter school on Indy’s east side.  Ball State University, in charge of overseeing academic standards, said it was pulling its support from seven of its 42 schools.  Imagine East is set to close its doors for good at the end of the school year.

“I do not want it to close down,” said Hudnall.  “This school right here is close to the neighborhood, all of the kids in the community go to this school.”

Imagine East has struggled for several years.  Less than 24 percent of students passed Math and English on the state’s ISTEP test.  Overall, it was the 17th worst performing school in the state.  In a statement released by Ball State’s executive director of the Office of Charter Schools, “None of these schools should be surprised.”

“It is a painful process for everyone involved, but in the long run it actually is a positive,” said David Harris of The Mind Trust.

Harris said closing a poor performing school is in the best interest of Hoosier students.

“We are saying you need to have a certain performance level, if you do not achieve that performance level you are going to suffer the consequences,” said Harris.  “If you do not take those types of actions, then you are going to allow schools to operate even though they are not meeting the needs of kids and that, in the long run, is much worse.”

The rest of the school year will be difficult for people like Sally Davis, whose 9-year-old granddaughter struggled at another school, but is now earning A’s and B’s at Imagine East.

“Sad to hear about it because she likes it over here,” said Davis.  “She does not have any problems with students, she gets along with the other kids and she is doing great with grades.”

No one from the school would talk to us, but the following statement was posted on the school’s Facebook page:
“Imagine East is focused on our mission to educate the students who come through our doors for the duration of the academic school year. Teaching and learning will take place at Imagine Indiana Life Sciences Academy East. We are working with our governing board to evaluate our options.”

As far as the other six schools who did not get their charters renewed, three are in Fort Wayne, are were in Gary, and one is in Richmond.

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