Editor's Note: This story is part of The Partnership Project, a series of content written in an effort by The Daily News to follow the formal collaboration of Ball State University and Muncie Community Schools. Read more in this series here.
Muncie Community Schools (MCS) Board of Trustees discussed multiple topics like a roof-fixing bid, the 2020 budget and a review from Muncie Central High School’s (MCHS) principal about the school’s performance in the 2018-19 academic year.
Principal Chris Walker spoke about MCHS’ achievements and areas of improvement on Tuesday and the board meeting held in the auditorium of Muncie Central High School (MCHS).
In his presentation, Walker noted that 3,172 college credits were earned via Ivy Tech Community College by MCHS students equalling a little over $446,000 in savings for MCHS families.
He said some students who graduated last year are finding out that they are currently juniors in college based on the total number of credits that transferred to their respective colleges.
Additionally, the class of 2019 received over $4.7 million in scholarship offers, he said, with the total in scholarships over the past three years amounting to almost $15 million.
MCHS also incentivized their Advanced Placement (AP) program for the first time in December 2018 with a total of $15,000 to its students in the form of cheques and gift cards, he said. This was done by awarding students $100 for each AP exam they pass with a score of 3 or higher.
“When I tell you it really pays to go to Muncie Central … there are definitely some incentives and some financial savings for our students and families," Walker said.
Walker added the school had performed slightly higher in the Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress-Plus 10 in Math and English in the 2018-19 academic year.
He said there have also been improvements with staff retention, with 27 new teachers added in 2017-18 academic year, 5 teachers in 2018-19 and 7 in the current academic year.
“We wanted to invest our staff,” he said. “We have great educators here that really, truly put their students first.”
The targeted areas of growth in the 2019-20 academic year, he said, include improving student achievement, social/emotional learning, increasing alternative options for MCHS students and tackling the issue of chronically absent students.
“We firmly believe that if our students will be here everyday, they will be successful,” Walker said. “There’s no doubt about that in my mind. We have a fantastic staff, we have great support systems in place.”
Following his presentation, another topic discussed by the board was upgrading the technology used by MCS students which would cost around $900,000 and will involve buying 535 laptops, along with smart boards and more Chromebooks and Chromebook charging stations for students.
The board also approved a $2.3 million roof-fixing contract to McGruff Roofing. Bard De Rome, chief financial officer at MCS, said work will be done at four schools — MCHS, East Washington Academy, Southside Middle School and South View Elementary School — and the timeline as of now has it scheduled to be completed by December.
No public comments were made during the hearing for the MCS 2020 budget, which totals $60.3 million.
The board was also presented with the MCHS Varsity “M” — an award signed by each member from the school’s class of 2019 — the first graduating class since the Ball State-MCS partnership. Allison Polk, the class president from the 2019 graduating class, presented the award to the members.