Ball State proposed to take over K-12 district oversight
- Ball State University is under consideration by Indiana's General Assembly to be the unofficial governing body of the Muncie Community School district, which has seen enrollment drop from nearly 20,000 students to just over 5,000 in the last 50 years, according to Inside Higher Ed.
- Lawmakers hope that Ball State can reign in the district's spending crisis, which has yielded millions in required maintenance and repair costs and forced the legislature to install emergency leadership in 2017 to rightsize issues with finance and unused classrooms and facilities.
- Critics of the proposal, developed by state lawmakers, say the new oversight structure would put the university in a position to sidestep collective bargaining with teacher unions and would reduce local authority and decision making over individual schools. Supporters say Ball State could do for the system what it has done for two lab schools in the area, which have grown in competitiveness for students and enrollment in recent years.
Colleges are As the Los Angeles public school district struggles with financial woes and an enrollment crisis, universities including University of California, Los Angeles and Loyola Marymount are stepping in to help. In exchange, they are gaining a significant say in how the schools are run, winning some of the freedom that charter schools enjoy, including having a say in teacher hiring and curriculum choice.
Meanwhile, UCLA, Johns Hopkins University and others are lending their names to new charters or partnering with districts to overhaul troubled institutions, often investing millions or tens of millions of dollars in cash or faculty time.
University officials say the K-12 work is about testing education theories, such as the value of socioeconomically diverse classrooms, and being good neighbors, but acknowledge the engagement is far from altruistic. It is also about improving blighted blocks that abut their campuses and strengthening the pipeline of students who could eventually enroll at their institutions.
Much in the way that universities have viewed charter schools as a service to yield revenue and support the common public good, these college-school district initiatives may bring funding opportunities from state, federal and foundation resources, tax revenues and appropriations and public bonds.
- Inside Higher Ed A university-run school district?