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Ball State stands by decision to revoke Gary school’s charter

Updated: June 18, 2013 7:37AM



GARY — Ball State University won’t renew the charter of the LEAD Preparatory Charter School in Miller. The university announced its decision after the school appealed a January decision to revoke the charter. The school was in its sixth year of operation.

Ball State President Jo Ann Gora approved a review panel’s decision to reject the appeals of LEAD and four other charters across the state.

Mike Suggs, president of the LEAD school board, said Wednesday that Principal Nehemiah Thomas informed teachers and staff of the decision and a letter was sent to parents. Suggs said the school is holding a transition meeting for parents at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and has invited other charter schools and the Gary Community School Corp. to meet with parents.

The school’s contract with Ball State expires June 30.

Many parents at LEAD Preparatory, 6070 Miller Ave., had signed petitions sent to Ball State in support of the school. One said the school deserved a second chance after it changed administrations.

The action means the number of charter schools in the city will shrink from eight to six in the fall. West Gary Lighthouse earlier opted against seeking the renewal of its charter. It plans to merge with another charter school.

Ball State also said it wouldn’t renew the charter of Charter School of the Dunes, also in Miller, but Calumet College of St. Joseph has agreed to sponsor the school.

Charter schools are alternative public schools that have had more freedom in setting curriculum. State law was changed last year to hold charters to the same academic standards as public schools. Ball State sponsors 42 charter schools in Indiana.

State lawmakers authorized Ball State a decade ago to sponsor charter schools in Indiana and the university approved the first one in 2002. Last year, state lawmakers approved allowing a second office, the Indiana Charter School Board, to authorize charter schools in the state.



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