Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Could Proposed Adult Education Center Use Dropped Ball State Charter's Building?

    Kyle Stokes / StateImpact Indiana

    Parents pack into a large common room in the back of Charter School of the Dunes on a recent Thursday night. They’re here to watch student presentations — but the charter situation is clearly on everyone’s minds.

    Leaders of a proposed drop out recovery center still need to find a site for the charter school in Richmond, reports Rachel E. Sheeley for the Palladium-Item:

    Excel Centers are public high schools that provide free transportation, day care and assign life coaches to adult students, who previously dropped out of high school, in an attempt to eliminate barriers to earning a diploma. Goodwill and its Excel Centers LLC subsidiary already operate five similar schools in Indianapolis and Anderson.

    Bess told those gathered that the objective is to open the school by August and, at this point, the most promising site for the school is the former C.R. Richardson Elementary School.

    The charter school’s use of the vacant C.R. Richardson building is still uncertain because Richmond Community Schools is considering installing other programs in the building, such as Head Start, if it’s selected for that opportunity.

    There also is uncertainty because the Kenneth A. Christmon STEMM Academy, which was identified as a potential landlord for the building in the proposal, had its Ball State University-issued charter discontinued and all parties are awaiting the outcome of the academy’s appeal of the university’s decision.

    “There’s just so many pieces still moving,” said Richmond Community Schools superintendent Allen Bourff. “That’s just the way it is.”

    Ball State announced last month it wouldn’t renew the charters of seven schools, including the Kenneth A. Christmon STEMM Academy. The school had gotten A’s from the state until the 2011-12 school year, when it received an F.

    As we’ve reported, most of those schools plan to appeal, so it’s hard to say when the fate of the Richmond building will be determined. State law gives charters first dibs on unused school properties.

    The Indiana Charter School Board will consider the Excel Center proposal Wednesday.

    (The headline of this post was changed after it went live.)


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