Ball State to sign more Charter Schools

Chief Reporter

Ball State plans to sign more formal agreements with charter schools in the near future, after becoming the first state university in Indiana to do so on April 30.

Ball State President Blaine Brownell signed the first agreement with Timothy Ehrgott, president of Irvington Community School on the east side of Indianapolis.

Irvington is the first of seven schools that Ball State has agreed to charter, and one of six that plan to open this fall.

Ball State will not be in charge of the day-to-day operations of the school.

"Ball State's role is going to basically be oversight," said Kenneth Miller, assistant to the dean of the Teachers College and associate professor of educational management.

Ball State is responsible for making sure that the chartered institution is complying with both the law and the terms of the contract signed with the university. Ball State reserves the right to revoke the charter if a school fails to meet educational standards.

Ehrgott says he hopes the Irvington school, with an Internet-based curriculum, a 210-day school year and an emphasis on music and art, will provide an incentive for people to stay in Irvington.

"We want to give [the students] exposure to a type of education not available in the marketplace," he said. "Anytime you can provide the youth of a community with the life skills needed for success, it is a big plus for the community."

The school, which was originally planned to open with 96 students in grades K-5, will instead open with an enrollment of 120.

"We had anticipated some pretty heavy demand," Erghott. "I think it shows that our concept is on target."

Miller said the charter schools will be an advantage to the entire state. "We'll provide a number of educational innovations that will help keep the whole state of Indiana on the cutting edge," he said, adding that Ball State would be watching Irvington's Internet-based curriculum with interest.

"It's a pretty traditional curriculum, delivered over the Internet," said Ehrgott. "What I like about it is, it is flexible and allows students to move at their own pace."

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