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Senate Adds More Rules To Ball State – Muncie Schools Plan

By Stephanie Wiechmann, IPR News | Published on in Education, Government, Local News, Uncategorized
Sen. Tim Lanane represents Muncie at the Statehouse. (Photo: Tony Sandleben)

Indiana senators have added more rules to a bill that would let Ball State University take responsibility for Muncie Community Schools as it moves through the Senate.  But, as IPR’s Stephanie Wiechmann reports, two amendments passionately supported by Muncie’s senator were voted down.

“There’s no out.  There’s no way for control of the Muncie Community Schools to return to the community,” says Muncie Democratic Senator Tim Lanane.

Lanane was hoping to add what he called “a pure act of democracy” to the plan for a Ball State University-run Muncie Community Schools.

According to the amendment, Muncie voters would vote on a referendum question after nine years that could return the district to local control.  But that question would only be triggered by a community-written petition with 250 signatures.  No petition, no referendum.

Republican Senator Ryan Mishler is one of the bill’s Senate sponsors.  He objected to that idea on a procedural point.

“I think this is a little broader debate than just the Muncie issue.  Currently we do referendums on capital and constitutional amendments.  But this would be a referendum on policy.”

Read More: First Boston, Now Muncie? Lessons From A University-School Collaboration

That amendment failed.  As did one Lanane championed that would have required collective bargaining rights for Muncie teachers.  As the bill is written, Ball State could voluntarily allow collective bargaining, but does not have to.

Lanane authored one amendment that did pass.  It asks Ball State to consider appointing members to a new school board from all areas and socioeconomic classes of Muncie.

“—and they strive to ensure that we have members from the entire community, the entire Muncie community.”

Also approved – an amendment by a few senators that would require the Ball State-run district to teach good citizenship, the US and state constitutions and follow state rules on the American flag and the Pledge of Allegiance.

If passed on third reading in the Senate, the bill has a few more steps before it could be sent to the governor.