Ball State University will lead a community-wide partnership to improve the educational experiences for all of the children in Muncie. Ball State appointed a new school board June 25 to manage the Muncie Community Schools (“MCS”).

The new school board, which began governing MCS on July 1, will spend two years creating a long-term plan for the school corporation. The first year will be dedicated to gaining community input about the future of the schools.

Marilyn Buck

University Liaison to Muncie Community Schools

Dr. Marilyn Buck takes ideas from the Ball State community and presents them to the school corporation. Learn more.

Volunteers Wanted

In order to enhance the success of our public school system, Ball State faculty and staff may volunteer for MCS on university time, with their supervisors' approval. Find a list of available opportunities and instructions on how to sign up.

About This New Partnership

Ball State University has a long-term interest in Muncie. 

This opportunity is a significant challenge, and it requires a long-term commitment. The children of MCS are our children. And like every child, they deserve a great education and our unconditional and unwavering commitment.

Change requires a bold solution. This is a community plan. 

The challenges facing MCS are not new. Having Ball State assume responsibility for MCS will unlock the resources of a major public university and allow us to mobilize our faculty, staff, and students in new and innovative ways. Our leadership and extensive engagement will inspire people from other institutions and organizations to partner with us to provide an exceptional educational experience for the children of Muncie. And it will encourage philanthropic support from individuals and organizations eager to enhance the economic and civic vitality of our region.

There are many talented and committed people in MCS and in Muncie, and we will enlist their support. We cannot stress enough that collaboration with the Muncie community — students, parents, teachers, civic organizations, the business community, and anyone else that wants to work with us — is at the very heart of this effort. Collaboration is the key to success. This is not a Ball State plan. It is a community plan.

We value and respect MCS teachers and staff. They are critical to our public schools’ success. 

MCS teachers and staff are at the center of this partnership. They are the heart and soul of MCS. We value and respect them, and commend their professional and personal dedication to educating our children. We will soon engage MCS teachers and staff to learn more about their ideas for the future. Simply put, dedicated, experienced teachers and staff must be part of the solution.


May 16, 2018
Application process for MCS school board members starts.

June 1, 2018
Application process for MCS school board members closes.

June 8, 2018
Nominations from Muncie mayor and city council due.

June 12, 2018
Public forum from 6-8 p.m. in Muncie Central High School Auditorium. Live stream at bsu.edu/live.

June 25, 2018
Trustees appoint new MCS board.

June 28, 2018
Family Meeting at 6 p.m. in the Muncie Central High School auditorium.

July 1, 2018
New MCS board takes office.

August 6, 2018
Classes begin at MCS.

Questions from the Community

How will Ball State University ensure the voice of the community will be heard moving forward?

Collaboration is the key to success in this effort. We are now seeking candidates for the new MCS school board.

The minimum qualifications for board members are:

  • 21 years old
  • United States citizen
  • high school graduate or GED; postsecondary educational degree preferred
  • residency within the Muncie Community Schools district highly preferred
  • cannot be a Ball State University Trustee or the Ball State University President
  • cannot be an immediate family member of a Ball State University Trustee or an immediate family member of the Ball State University President
  • cannot be or have an immediate family member employed by the Muncie Community Schools district
  • the appointment must comply with the Conflict of Interest Policy Regarding Appointments to the Governing Body of Muncie Community Schools (PDF) adopted by the Ball State University Board of Trustees on May 16, 2018

Important skills and attributes include:

  • passion for public education and Muncie Community Schools
  • record of civic engagement and community participation
  • experience in fiscal management or oversight
  • experience in operational management or oversight
  • experience in team effectiveness
  • demonstrated leadership

We will have a community forum on June 12 in connection with the selection process. Our goal is a diverse and complementary team that reflects the diverse perspectives of the community.

The newly-appointed school board will assume responsibility for MCS on July 1, 2018. The board will have two years to develop a long-term plan, with the first year devoted to listening to the community. This will allow for a great deal of collaboration with students, families, teachers, administrators, local leaders, and others to help us develop the best possible plan and provide an exceptional educational experience for all of the children of Muncie. We are at the very beginning of the process.

In addition, we are forming a Community Engagement Council. This council will include community members who will volunteer to help MCS thrive again.

What can MCS parents, faculty and staff, and the Muncie community look forward to in the coming months?

On July 1, 2018, the responsibility for MCS will shift from an emergency manager with a short-term mandate to an anchor institution in Muncie with a long-term interest in our community and our public schools.

This new partnership is already making an impact. We are grateful to institutions that have made generous financial commitments to MCS.

In addition, we will build on current partnerships such as immersive learning experiences and professional development liaisons, and we will mobilize our faculty, staff, and students in new and innovative ways. Our faculty and staff will deepen our partnership with the MCS faculty and staff.

Beginning July 1, the current emergency managers, Administrator Assistance, will be working through a 60-day transition period as provided in their current contract with the Distressed Unit Appeal Board. Administrator Assistance has indicated that the financial plan, which will be presented to the newly appointed school board for the next school year, anticipates that the salaries and benefits next year for all returning MCS employees will be the same as this current year.

We will deploy a volunteer corps and form a Community Engagement Council and Education Expert Panel. School improvement planning teams will be established, and they will collect data and develop a monitoring system to ensure progress.

This partnership will provide the stability MCS students, parents, faculty and staff, and the Muncie community need and deserve.

Recent Media Coverage and Statements


Interview with Indiana Public Radio

BSU President Mearns: “A Historic Opportunity” To Fix Muncie Schools

President Mearns sat down with Indiana Public Radio's Stan Sollars to discuss the Proposal.

Listen to Interview

Quick Facts

About Ball State University
  • Founded in 1918 and located in Muncie, Ball State is one of Indiana’s signature universities and an economic driver for the state.
  • The University’s 2017-18 enrollment – 22,513 – is the largest in school history and its incoming freshman class of 4,002 is just three students shy of another school record. Every Indiana county is represented among Ball State’s student body, as are all 50 states and 69 countries.
  • Ball State’s 1,140-acre campus is large enough to accommodate premier facilities and 19 NCAA Division 1 sports, but small enough to ensure the friendliness, personal attention and access that are the hallmarks of the University, where 90% of classes are taught by faculty.
  • Ball State will have its smallest tuition increase in 41 years for fiscal years 2018 and 2019.
About Burris Laboratory School
  • Burris was founded in 1929 as part of Teachers College, Ball State University and the Muncie Schools.
  • In 1974, Burris became a separate school district with the entire state of Indiana as its enrollment district. In 1990, Burris, with the addition of the Indiana Academy of Science, Mathematics, and Humanities, became part of University Schools. In 2004, Burris and the Indiana Academy became separate school corporations. Burris is the only school in the Burris Laboratory School Corporation.
  • As Burris does not have a school board, the Ball State University Board of Trustees is the ultimate authority for school policies.
  • Burris is a department of the BSU Teachers College.
  • As its mission, Burris
    • Provides the development, demonstration, and dissemination of effective and innovative teaching practices.
    • Offers an exemplary pre-service clinical program for teaching majors.
    • Accommodates research and operates an educationally sound instructional program for its K-12 population.
About the Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics and Humanities
  • The Indiana Academy was founded in 1988 by the Indiana General Assembly and is operated by Ball State University as a school devoted to the education of students who demonstrate extraordinary intellectual ability and a commitment to scholarship.
  • It is located on the campus of Ball State University.
  • Indiana Academy is accredited by the Indiana Department of Education as a Freeway School, is a member of the National Association of College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and is compliant with NACAC “Statement of Principles of Good Practice.”
  • Indiana Academy has two purposes that are central to its mission
    • To serve as a residential high school for approximately 300 gifted and talented juniors and seniors from across the state of Indiana.
    • Through various outreach programs, Indiana Academy strives to stimulate and enable vitality in educational programs for academically gifted students and teachers.
  • According to the 2018 U.S.A. Niche Rankings, Indiana Academy is the
    • Number one public high school in Indiana
    • Has the fourth best public high school teachers in the country
    • Is in the top 20 of public high schools in the country