Regulators, Ball State Set to Tangle Over Charter School

Ball State University is set to tangle with state regulators this week in a dispute over a failing charter school.

Under Indiana’s law governing charters, certain entities – including state universities – are allowed to act as “authorizers” to oversee performance at the schools. In exchange, the authorizer receives a 3 percent share of the state tuition support that flows to the charter school.

The State Board of Education oversees the performance of authorizers. If the board believes authorizers have not done a good enough job of overseeing a charter school’s performance, they can fine the authorizer, transfer the school to another authorizer, or shutter the charter school completely.

Ball State, located in Muncie, has jumped headfirst into the authorizing business. According to the Muncie Star Press, the university is one of the largest authorizers in the state and oversees 28 charter schools.

The dispute at the State Board of Education this week concerns Hoosier Academy/Indianapolis Virtual School, an online-based charter school authorized by Ball State. The school is one of Indiana’s worst performers, receiving an F grade in state evaluations for each of the last five years.

However, Ball State argues that the school is making progress in some indicators and deserves more time to prove itself.

With Hoosier Academy’s long track record of poor performance, this week’s hearing is the second time Ball State has had to defend the school from state regulators; in January 2015, the State Board of Education let the school stay open.

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