The takeover of Muncie Community Schools by Ball State University is moving forward. The Ball State Board of Trustees has approved a resolution to appoint a new seven-member school board to manage the district in what Board Chair Rick Hall calls a first-of-its-kind agreement. The university says it will begin accepting applications Thursday for potential board members.
The vote follows the Indiana General Assembly’s passage of House Bill 1315 during a special session Monday. Ball State President Geoffrey Mearns says the current emergency managers of MCS, Administrator Assistance, will assist the new school board during a 60-day transition period beginning July 1. He adds that, per the district’s finance plan, the salaries and benefits for all returning MCS employees will be the same as the current academic year.
"I am encouraged and energized that our University now has the opportunity to lead a community-wide partnership to improve the educational experiences for all of the children in Muncie," Mearns said in a news release Wednesday. "The future of our University and the future of our city are dependent upon the success of MCS. Today, we are now united to secure a brighter future for all of us."
Ball State says it has already generated nearly $3 million in private donations supporting MCS. The university adds it will direct $50,000 of that philanthropic support to fund supplies for MCS teachers to use in their classrooms. MCS employees will also receive a scholarship to enroll in programs at Ball State, which includes a 50 percent tuition reduction for up to six credit hours annually per employee.
Mearns says university officials plan to meet with teachers and staff in their schools before the end of the current academic year.
Those interested in applying for a position on the new MCS school board will be able to submit an online application beginning Thursday. Applications will also be available at the Bracken Administration Building on the Muncie campus. All applications must be received or postmarked by June 1.