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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student


School corp. goes against charter school proposal

Ball State University is considering backing a new charter school in Bloomington, and the Monroe County Community School Corporation is against it.

The Green Meadows Charter School would serve students K-8, and its website says “its academic focus is on environmental sustainability and social justice.” The school curriculum would be based on the Waldorf method of teaching, which is designed to educate students in a well-rounded manner focused on individual improvements with a de-emphasis on quantitative testing.

MCCSC representatives said they are not excited about the prospect of a new school in Bloomington.

“All public monies should be used to support only public schools,”  MCCSC Superintendent Judith DeMuth said in a statement. “With money to public schools being diminished to all-time lows and the demands of public schools growing, a charter school taking funds is not necessary.”

Tim Thrasher, director of business operations at MCCSC, also released a statement breaking down how much money MCCSC could lose.

“Losing 200 students to a charter school would result in a decrease in 2014 funding of $1,083,000, or the equivalent of the salaries and benefits for 22 teachers with a master’s degree and 2 years of teaching experience,” Thrasher said in the statement.

“The loss of 200 students will be spread throughout the MCCSC, a few students in each room, so it will not be possible to reduce the number of teachers to match the loss in funding without increasing the pupil-teacher ratio throughout the school corporation or reducing expenditures in other areas that could have an extremely detrimental impact on instruction," she said.

DeMuth also called into question Ball State’s performance in similar ventures. Earlier this year, Ball State closed seven charter schools it oversaw across Indiana.

“It is our understanding that Ball State recently chartered the same proprietors in an Indianapolis Charter school,” she said. “That Charter was closed last year as those quality and student performance indicators were not to the level that were to be met to keep the school open. Ball State made an investment in these alleged proprietors’ failures and eventually vacated the charter, closing the school.”

DeMuth also said a new school is not needed in Bloomington.

“The Monroe County Community School Corporation provides quality education for all children,” she said. “Look at our data — students show continued upward growth — again for all students, Special Education, Title I, advanced, highly motivated students of all colors and ethnicities.”

Thrasher said the school will do no good for Bloomington and its approval is not in the best interests of MCCSC students.

DeMuth urged residents to believe in MCCSC.

“I would add that MCCSC has enough schools to support all students in a fiscally sound manner,” she said. “If an investment is going to be made by our taxpayers, make an investment in MCCSC success, not the opposite record this alleged proprietor has shown.”

Ball State will be collecting public comment on Green Meadows until Oct. 1, at which point it will move forward with its decision.

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Follow reporter Stephen Kroll on Twitter @stephenkroll1.

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