Ball State University is renewing a lease agreement with Muncie Community Schools where the university owns a local middle school building, but leases it for $1 a year back to the district. IPR’s Stephanie Wiechmann reports.
Ball State first purchased Northside Middle School in 2017 for $1.27 million. Back then, the school district was facing a multi-million dollar deficit after misusing state construction bonds and a possible state takeover because of its finances. The district closed several school buildings in response.
Since then, the state legislature has given Ball State University responsibility over Muncie Community Schools in the first-of-its-kind partnership. But the $1 per year lease remained and was renewed first in 2019. The current renewal runs through 2024.
In a statement, MCS CEO Lee Ann Kwiatkowski says the arrangement has been working well.
As for the district’s finances, Ball State president Geoffrey Mearns recently announced MCS will pay back a state loan that covered those misused bonds several years earlier than anticipated.