MUNCIE, Ind. (WANE) Ball State University has upheld a decision to not renew charter school contracts for two Fort Wayne institutions, the Imagine MASTer Academy and Imagine Schools on Broadway. The decision was based on their academic, financial and organizational performance.
Those two were among seven Indiana charter schools that Ball State notified on January 18, that their contracts would not be renewed when they expired on June 30. The decision was made based on what Ball State described as an extensive review of academic, financial and organizational performance, and compliance.
The schools were then allowed to respond to the review as a means to renew the contract. The two Imagine schools chose to do so, while the Timothy L. Johnson Academy in Fort Wayne decided not to go ahead and file a response.
A hearing was held where testimony from the schools and the Office of Charter Schools was heard and considered by the Charter Schools Hearing Panel. The panel submitted a unanimous recommendation for each school to Ball State President Jo Ann M. Gora who agreed with the findings. Her decision is final.
Imagine Schools intends to keep all of the campus that have had their charters revoked opened, according to a release Imagine Schools sent out on Wednesday. Read the full release below.
Executive Director of the Indiana Charter School Board, Claire Fiddian-Green, told NewsChannel 15 that the only way for a charter school that has not had its charter renewed to stay open is to receive a new charter immediately following the expiration of the old charter.
Fiddian-Green said Imagine Schools did not apply to the Indiana Charter School Board and therefore cannot receive charters from that agency.
The following charter schools also will not have their contracts renewed:
- Imagine Indiana Life Sciences Academy-East, Indianapolis
- Kenneth A. Christmon STEMM Leadership Academy, Richmond
- LEAD College Preparatory Charter School, Gary
- Charter School of the Dunes, Gary
Previously Ball State had terminated the contract of just one charter school. That was for Urban Brightest in Fort Wayne in 2004.
Imagine Schools statement on Ball State's decision
Today, the governing Boards of Imagine Indiana Life Sciences Academy East, Imagine Master Academy, and Imagine Schools on Broadway received notification from Ball State University affirming their decision not to renew the charters for these campuses. This decision came despite a clear presentation to the Charter Schools Hearing Panel of strong academic growth by students at the campuses and a strong desire from parents for the schools to remain open.
Imagine Schools is disappointed by Ball State's decision but remains strongly committed to providing options for parents and families in making the best educational choices for their children. Despite the announcement, it is the intention of Imagine Schools to keep these campuses open for the greater Indianapolis and Fort Wayne communities.
Our focus today is to communicate directly with our students, parents, families and staff the best information about ongoing educational options as, together, we approach this difficult transition.
Imagine Schools is a national family of 70 public charter school campuses serving 38,000 students in 12 states and the District of Columbia.
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