IBJNews

Ball State rejection threatens two Indy charter schools

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Two Indianapolis charter schools could be forced to close in May after Ball State University declined their applications.

The two schools—Fall Creek and Fountain Square academies—operate under the oversight of Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. But Ballard in March ordered the Fountain Square Academy to close in 2012 for performance reasons and delayed renewing the charter for Fall Creek Academy. Fall Creek withdrew its application this fall.

After the mayor's decision, the schools’ boards of directors applied to Ball State in order to keep operating Fall Creek and to launch a new school in Fountain Square. Ball State officials told school officials Monday night that their applications would be denied.

Officials at Ball State could not be reached Wednesday morning for comment. The decisions affect 385 students at Fall Creek and 270 students at Fountain Square.

Charter schools receive public funding for each student they sign up, but they must also satisfy the demands of an authorizing agency in order to remain open. Ballard, Ball State, the State Board of Education and public school districts are the only entities currently with the power to approve charter schools.

In March, Ballard said Fountain Square had not posted strong enough academic performance to merit staying open. He said Fall Creek’s academic performance had been better, but he said he would wait until 2011 test results came back before making a decision on the school.

Results from the 2011 state standardized ISTEP tests were strong at both schools. Fall Creek has students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Fountain Square has students in grades 5-12.

The ISTEP is given to students in grades 3-8.

At Fall Creek, 76 percent of its students passed the math portion of the ISTEP and 61 percent passed the English portion—increases of 7 percent and 17 percent, respectively, over the school’s results from the previous year.

At Fountain Square Academy, 78 percent of its middle-school students passed the math portion of ISTEP and 64 percent passed the English portion. Those passing rates were up by 62 percent and 26 percent, respectively, over the school’s results from the previous year.

“That’s huge. No school in Indiana had that kind of a gain,” Kevin Teasley, president of the Indianapolis-based GEO Foundation, which manages both schools, told IBJ in June.

The overall gains in test scores satisfied the demands for adequate yearly progress, as established by the federal No Child Left Behind law, although neither school had enough gains in all subcategories to fully meet the law’s standard.

Fall Creek and Fountain Square have 86 percent and 90 percent of their students, respectively, qualify for free and reduced-price lunches, which is the education sector's measure of poverty. Low-income students tend to struggle in school more than affluent students.

Another charter school sponsored by Ballard, Stonegate Early College High School, announced last week that it would close this month for financial reasons. Its 210 students are now looking for new schools in the middle of the academic year.

Teasley declined to comment Wednesday on Ball State’s decision, other than to say, “I’m not turning my back on Fountain Square.”

Ballard promised in March to find a new school to replace the Fountain Square Academy, but so far no school operators have stepped forward.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • GEO worth it?
    Alex,

    Do you really want to see your tax dollars going to GEO foundation and Teasley? The guy pays himself over $200k per year to run GEO which runs 4 schools with a combined enrollment of less than 1100 students.
  • Great News!
    These schools have had more than just academic issues. They have had staffing issues, student violence issues and financial issues. GEO Foundation has been in the news more than a few times. Some staff did not have a college education, students were threatening other students and staff and the organization had mis-appropriated funds. Good Bye!
  • poor kids
    Looks like the trend is to open and close schools based on performance. It's as if they are franchised retailers. Sadly, people forget there are actual kids at these schools. The stress of starting at a new school is a lot for young kids.

    Post a comment to this story

    COMMENTS POLICY
    We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
     
    You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
     
    Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
     
    No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
     
    We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
     

    Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

    Sponsored by
    ADVERTISEMENT

    facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
     
    Subscribe to IBJ
    1. A couple of issues need some clarification especially since my name was on the list. I am not sure how this information was obtained and from where. For me, the amount was incorrect to begin with and the money does not come to me personally. I am guessing that the names listed are the Principal Investigators (individual responsible for the conduct of the trail) for the different pharmaceutical trials and not the entity which receives the checks. In my case, I participate in Phase II and Phase III trials which are required for new drug development. Your article should differentiate the amount of money received for consulting, for speaking fees, and for conduct of a clinical trial for new drug development. The lumping of all of these categories may give the reader a false impression of physicians just trying to get rich. The Sunshine Law may help to differentiate these categories in the future. The public should be aware that the Clinical Trial Industry could be a real economic driver for Indiana since these revenues supports jobs and new job creation. Nationally, this account for 10-20 billion which our State is missing out on to a large degree. Yes, new drug and technology development has gotten most of the attention (e.g. CTSI, BioCrossroads, etc.) However, serious money is being left on the table by not participating in the clinical trials to get those new drugs and medical devices on the market!!!! I guess that this is not sexy enough for academia.

    2. The address given for the Goldfish Swim Club is the Ace Hardware, is it closing?

    3. Out of state management and ownership. If Kite controlled it, everything would be leased. Of course, due to the roundabout, there is limited access to the south side of 116th now also. Just have to go down to the light.

    4. Hey smudge, You're opposed to arresting people for minor crimes? Sounds great! We should only focus on murders and such, right? Let's stand around and wait until someone shoots someone before we act. Whatever we do, we should never question anyone, frisk anyone, or arrest anyone unless they are actively engaged in shooting or stabbing. Very sound!

    5. You guys are being really rude to gays in the comments. (Not all of you, I presume). You need to stop it. Gays have just as much of a right to marry as straight people do. It's not fair how you guys are denying them equal rights. They're acting more human than you'll ever be. We obviously haven't matured since the bible was last updated. Hate the sin, not the sinner. You've all committed a sin at least once in your life. You've lied, you've stolen, etc. (Those are just possibilities). We should have a planet for people that support gay rights and a planet for people that don't. Then, gay people could get married without you bigots interfering with their love life. How would you feel if straights couldn't get married? How would you feel if teenagers were afraid to come out to their parents as straight? If straight people got hate everywhere they went? If straight people were afraid to go out in public, because they feared being judged? It's never going to happen at the rate society is going. You haven't seen the side of me where I act obscene. You're glad my inner demon hasn't been released. I would, but oh no, my comment would be removed because of my very strong emotions about this subject. I love gays, and love how they show their affection for each other. I just ADORE how a state is going to give same-sex couples a marriage license, then changes their mind. (I was obviously being sarcastic there). I just LOVE how society thinks gays are an abomination to our society. You're caring about marriage between two men or two women. That's a small thing. Just grow up, and let them marry. Let them live their lives. You can't make them change their sexuality. You can't make them change their lifestyle. In my opinion, gays are more than welcome to marry. Please, grow up and realize that people should be allowed to marry, even if it's same-sex marriage. You guys are saying that "the bible said gay marriage is wrong." Well, guess what else is wrong? Read Matthew:7 and you'll find out. (I am in no way breaking that. I am saying a fact). I'm stating that gays have just as much of a right to marry as straights do. (:

    ADVERTISEMENT