MUNCIE — The governance of Muncie Community Schools was a hot topic at the Statehouse again on Monday, when the Indiana General Assembly's Legislative Council heard testimony for and against a Ball State University takeover of the district.
Supporters of House Bill 1315 included the president of the Muncie School Board, black clergy, the BSU president, the Central High School principal, a kindergarten teacher, a BSU student, a couple of parents and Sen. Doug Eckerty, R-Yorktown.
Opponents included Pat Kennedy, head of the Muncie Teachers Association; a school board member who called the bill divisive; the Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA); the Indiana Coalition for Public Education; and Sen. Tim Lanane, D-Anderson.
The Legislative Council made up of 16 lawmakers conducted a public hearing on the bill, which is scheduled to be voted on during a special session of the Legislature next week.
The author, Rep. Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville, has grown tired of talking about the school district's financial problems and said he wanted to focus instead on the opportunity for stabilization, "innovation, uniqueness and growth" if the bill passes.
"Can Bearcats fly?" school board President Debbie Feick asked lawmakers. "You bet they can." The new slogan at Ball State is, "We fly!" Feick called it "in the best interest of children and families" for BSU to take over. Four of the five school board members back HB 1315.