The next Muncie Community Schools board has been approved by the Ball State University Board of Trustees. Last month, the General Assembly approved handing oversight of the local school district to the university. The new board, which will consist of seven members, will assume responsibility July 1.

Five board members were recommended by BSU President Geoff Mearns, one by Mayor Dennis Tyler and one by the city council. During his presentation to university trustees Monday, Mearns said "I am grateful that these seven leaders are willing to assume this important new responsibility of overseeing the future of our local schools. I am confident they will serve with skill, courage, civility, and compassion. Each member of this new board has a passion for Muncie and our public schools. I appreciate their dedication to our children and to our community."

Due to financial difficulties, the district was placed under state control last year. The MCS board is tasked with spending the next two years developing a long-term plan.

New board members include:

• Brittany Bales (pictured), instructor of special education, Ball State

• WaTasha Barnes Griffin (pictured), executive director, YWCA of Muncie

• Mark Ervin, attorney, Beasley & Gilkison LLP

• Dave Heeter, CEO, MutualBank

• Jim Lowe, associate vice president for facilities planning and management, Ball State

• Keith O’Neal, lead pastor, Destiny Christian Center

• Jim Williams, attorney, DeFur Voran

The board also approved a 2018-2019 general fund budget of $388.7 million, a 1.25 percent tuition increase — which the university says is the smallest increase in over 40 years — and a 2 percent increase to the faculty and professional employee funding pool. The budget and scope of a $60 million dormitory for 510 students as part of the North Residential Neighborhood was also approved, as was the budget and scope of the $87.5 million Foundational Sciences Building — part of the project to replace the Cooper Science Complex.

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