House bill would have Ball State manage struggling Muncie Community Schools

This Jan. 25, 2018, photo shows Muncie Central High School in Muncie, Ind. (WTHR Photo/Rich Nye)

MUNCIE, Ind. (WTHR) – The struggling Muncie Community Schools could soon get new help, thanks to a plan that hasn't been tried anywhere before.

There appears to be growing support for having an institution of higher education help a local school district emerge from ongoing woes.

Under the proposal, Ball State University would take over Muncie Central High School and every other school in the district.

Ball State quickly got behind the bill, which passed out of a house committee earlier this week.

“We believe the fortunes of our university are also linked to the fortunes of Muncie,” said BSU President Geoff Mearns. “And we know the future of Muncie is dependent on the future of Muncie schools, so we’re all in this together and that’s why we’ve decided that this is a responsibility we should undertake. We feel an obligation and a great opportunity.

This is believed to be the first time in the country a public university would be mandated by state law to take over an entire school district.

The debt-ridden district is already being run by an emergency manager.

Under the proposal, Ball State would appoint a new school board, dissolving the existing board effective July 1.