Gary School Board backs charter school
By Carole Carlson email@example.com | 648-3154 October 10, 2012 11:30PM
Updated: November 12, 2012 11:59AM
GARY — The Gary Community Public School Corp. is working with Ball State University to establish a charter school.
The School Board approved a resolution Tuesday that paves the way for the first district-sponsored charter in Northwest Indiana.
Establishing a charter was one of the goals Superintendent Cheryl Pruitt announced during a teacher convocation in August.
The city already has eight independent charter schools that enroll about 30 percent of the school-age children. They compete with traditional public schools for state money and students, although traditional public schools, like the Gary district, have the edge in having taxing and bonding authority.
Traditional public schools have been authorized to establish charters since 2001 when charter school legislation was approved by the General Assembly. So far, only school districts in Indianapolis, Evansville and Lafayette have established charters.
Pruitt said Wednesday that a school-district-sponsored charter will provide more opportunities for children.
While the charter’s creation is in the beginning stages, Pruitt hopes the charter will open in the 2013-14 school year.
“This allows choices for parents. Although charters provide alternatives, they are public schools,” she said.
Pruitt said the district is exploring models for the charter to best serve students. “We want to operate more technology, an Apple or Google type of schooling, or apprenticeship-type programs.”
She said the district would explore collaborations with business and industry to better prepare students for careers or college.
Board member Barbara Leek said the district has been considering establishing a charter for a few years. She said the Ball State Office of Charter Schools has agreed to offer its technical expertise to the district.
“We’re looking at options, particularly with our most challenged schools ... We’re determined to not lose another school to poor academic performance,” Leek said.
By authorizing the charter school itself, the district won’t have to bring in an educational management company, said board member Ken Stalling. “It allows us to do things a little bit different and gives students more of a choice. We’re just kind of covering our bases.”