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Local charter school frustrated with Ball State

Imagine MASTer Academy board President Pat Sheean expressed frustration during a meeting Wednesday about the lack of communication with Ball State University, which is the charter school's authorizer until June.

Ball State recently announced a decision not to renew the school's charter, or those of two other city charter schools, effective June 30. University officials cited poor performance and insignificant growth as reasons behind the decision.

All three schools are appealing the decision, and Imagine Schools Inc. Regional Director Rachel Cirullo said both Imagine Schools are waiting for Ball State to set a date for the appeal. Imagine Schools on Broadway's charter was also pulled by the university.

Cirullo said the schools have asked for more information about the reports and standards used in the decision but haven't received any feedback. Sheean requested that Cirullo send an official letter to the university, requesting more information about the appeal and any rules the school must follow as it prepares.

At the time of the decision, Ball State officials said schools shouldn't be surprised, but Sheean said that isn't the case.

"The truth is they really haven't communicated well at all," he said.

Cirullo said both schools have continued to send updates to Imagine's field representative at Ball State on standardized test score data, which for both schools show improvement in both math and English language/arts. Imagine on Broadway plans to ask the university to reconsider its decision by looking at the school's test scores from this year, which is the fifth year of the school's five-year charter.

MASTer Academy officials also have said the school will show improvement in scores this year.

Moving forward, Sheean said, the school needs to be able to equip the right people for the appeal hearing as well as provide information to parents who need to make decisions about next school year.

Ball State is required to set a hearing before June 30. A three-member panel appointed by Ball State President Jo Ann Gora would hear the school's appeal and make a final decision.

sarah.janssen@jg.net

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