(AP) — Ball State University has pulled its sponsorship of seven
academically struggling Indiana charter schools — a loss that will likely
result in the schools' closure, a university official said Tuesday.
schools were subjected to an "extensive review" of their performance —
including academics, finances and compliance — by Ball State, which denied
their requests for charter contract renewals.
schools withdrew their requests for contract renewals and also will likely
close their doors after their university-approved charters end June 30,
said Bob Marra, executive director of the university's Office of Charter
He said the
3,900 students who attend those schools can transfer next school year to
other charter schools, or go to public or private schools.
"None of these
schools should be surprised," Marra said in a statement, adding that the
schools had shown insufficient academic progress. "It is our
responsibility to not renew the school, which usually leads to closure.
understand it may cause some short-term difficulty for families, it is a
decision made in the long-term best interests of their students," he said.
reviewed the performance of 20 of the 42 charter schools it sponsors in
Indiana. The 11 other schools received either 3-year or 5-year contract
renewals. The university had previously pulled its sponsorship of only one
charter school, Urban Brightest in Fort Wayne, in 2004.
schools are alternative public schools that have had more freedom in
setting curriculum, but state law was changed last year to hold charters
to the same academic standards as public schools.
lawmakers authorized Ball State a decade ago to sponsor charter schools in
Indiana and Marra said the university approved the first one in 2002. Last
year, lawmakers approved allowing a second office, the Indiana Charter
School Board, to authorize charter schools in the state.
Indianapolis Star reported last month that a charter school sponsor trade
group, the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, said in a
recent report that Ball State had not done an adequate job of overseeing
the charter schools it sponsors.
Marra said his
office's most recent review has opened a new phase of its scrutiny of its
Indiana charter schools. He said the university would review the 22 other
charter schools it sponsors when their contracts come up for review.
schools denied contract renewals are: Imagine MASTer Academy, Timothy L.
Johnson Academy and Imagine Schools on Broadway, all in Fort Wayne;
Charter School of the Dunes and LEAD College Preparatory Charter School in
Gary; Imagine Indiana Life Sciences Academy-East in Indianapolis; and
Kenneth A. Christmon STEMM Leadership Academy in Richmond.
schools that withdrew their requests for contract renewals are Hoosier
Academy-Muncie in Muncie and the Indiana West Gary Lighthouse Charter
School in Gary.