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Ball State pulls plug on school

Ball State pulls plug on school

Proposed Gary academy, plagued by problems, loses sponsor

GARY | The Ball State University Office of Charter Schools has withdrawn its sponsorship of the Indiana Math and Science Academy at Gary, which was scheduled to open this fall.

The school was approved in May 2006, but a recent review showed that it had not established a facility nor hired teachers, according to a statement issued Thursday by the Ball State office. There were as many as 63 families who were interested in the new charter school, but as of Tuesday, six weeks before the scheduled opening, only 35 students were enrolled.

The academy originally proposed an opening enrollment of 225 students.

Larry Gabbert, director of the Ball State office, called it a difficult decision but said "he wanted to let families know as soon as possible so they could make other arrangements before school starts."

Ball State is the only university in the state that currently approves charter schools.

The proposed Indiana Math and Science Academy was to be operated by Illinois-based Concept Schools, an educational management association. The plan was to locate the academy in a former nursing home at 1964 Clark Road in Gary.

The academy was to be designed for students in grades six through 12, but the first year, it would only accept students in sixth through eighth grades.

Ugur Zengince, who would have been principal at the Gary academy and was a member of the group that met with Ball State officials Tuesday, said the building on Clark Road had been burglarized twice and copper wire was stolen, making it unusable.

Gabbert doesn't believe there is enough time for Concept officials to revise the proposal and get it in by Aug. 1.

He also said this isn't the school's first delay. After its approval in May 2006, the school was supposed to open in the fall of 2007.

Gabbert said without Ball State's sponsorship, the school has no authority to open and would not receive any funding through the Indiana Department of Education.

Charter schools are public schools that offer parents an alternative to traditional school environments. The schools often have smaller class sizes and more parent involvement in the educational process.


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