Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Tony Sandleben, Indiana Public Radio

Muncie Schools: Where We Are Before A State Decision

Muncie Central High Schoo. (Kyle Stokes/StateImpact Indiana)

Muncie Central High School. (Kyle Stokes/StateImpact Indiana)

Their Nov. 14 school board meeting may have been Muncie Community School’s last before a state board decides if the state will fully take over the district. The state says it wants to see progress.

Emergency management team Administrator Assistance has been overseeing the Muncie Community School’s finances since July.

In that time, the district has established where they stand financially, something that previous financial officers were not able to find. It also has approved a line-item budget to prevent it from over-spending and rearranged its bonds to pay what it owes in 2017.

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Muncie Community Schools Restructures Bonds To Pay 2017 Bills

MCS CFO Bob Coddington talks about restructuring the district's debt. (Tony Sandleben/IPR)

MCS CFO Bob Coddington talks about restructuring the district’s debt. (Tony Sandleben/IPR)

After the school board voted on a fundraising plan Tuesday night, Muncie Community Schools will be able to cover $3.7 million in bills through the end of 2017.

However, superintendent Steven Baule says the district is not out of the woods yet.

“This is not the long term solution. It’s a mid-term solution,” Baule says.

Muncie Schools CFO Bob Coddington says the school district is rearranging its debt, by way of restructuring bonds, in order to pay what it owes in December.

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Muncie Community Schools To Cut Programs To Fix Deficit

Emergency Manager Steve Edwards gives a report to the MCS school board. (Tony Sandleben/IPR)

Emergency Manager Steve Edwards gives a report to the MCS school board. (Tony Sandleben/IPR)

To fix its financial deficit, Muncie Community Schools may be cutting some classroom programs. School closures and privatizing services have not made enough of a dent.

Muncie Community Schools emergency manager Steve Edwards, whose team is managing the district’s finances through December, says no one wants to cut programs. But his team’s strategy is changing.

“It may very well be that Muncie cannot afford all the programs that they have,” Edwards says.

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Muncie Schools Facing Loss of Teachers And Retainment Issues

Teachers, students, and the community rallied for the school in February. (photo credit: Indiana Public Radio)

Teachers, students, and the community rallied for the school in February. (photo credit: Indiana Public Radio)

A unanimous decision by the Indiana Education Employment Relations Board, or IEERB, ended any hope of Muncie teachers working under the school board’s version of a new teachers contract. IEERB voted last week to uphold the state fact finder’s decision, meaning the teachers will work under a contract written by the Muncie Teachers Association.

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Ball State To Increase Student Teaching At Muncie Schools

Members of the State Board of Education will decide whether or not to earmark funds to support some of Indiana’s formerly failing public schools. (Alexander McCall/WFIU News)

Ball State’s teacher program will increase its student teachers at Muncie Community Schools. Rather than putting student teachers at a few schools, they will now be at all Muncie schools. (photo credit: Alex McCall/WFIU)

Ball State University is reaching out to the financially distressed Muncie Community Schools, but not to offer financial help. The two will instead partner to increase teaching education in the city of Muncie.

“We desire to better fully invest with MCS,” said a representative with Ball State University’s Teachers College at a May Muncie Community Schools Board of Trustees meeting.  “We’ve had a strong presence here as what we call a professional development school in 1998 and we want to continue to strengthen that.”

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Muncie Schools Propose Own Plan To Solve Debt And Keep State Away

Indiana lawmakers are considering a measure which would annually notify teachers of their right to change representation, if union membership drops below 50 percent at a school. (chancadoodle/Flickr)

Muncie Schools are included in a bill that would allow the state to help solve the district’s debt. At a school board meeting Tuesday, the superintendent proposed an alternate plan to address the debt, in hopes of keeping state involvement at bay. (photo credit: chancadoodle/Flickr)

School district officials in Muncie hope a locally-crafted debt reduction plan will convince state lawmakers to remove them from a bill that would let the state take over control of the district’s financial crisis. The plan presented Tuesday night closes several schools, but doesn’t zero out that debt.

Muncie Community Schools Superintendent Steven Baule told a large crowd at Tuesday’s school board meeting that he isn’t just worried about being taken over by the state.

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