The Ball State University Board of Trustees, in its final meeting of the 2022-23 academic year, on Friday reappointed Jim Lowe to the Muncie Community Schools (MCS) Board of Trustees.
As part of its historic partnership with MCS, which began in July 2018 to provide excellent public education to every student in Muncie, the University appointed a seven-member governing board for the school district. Five members are appointed by the Ball State Board of Trustees, based upon recommendations from Ball State President Geoffrey S. Mearns. The remaining two members are appointed by President Mearns (one chosen from three nominations by the Muncie Mayor, and one chosen from three nominations by Muncie City Council).
Mr. Lowe, associate vice president for facilities planning and management at Ball State, has served on the MCS Board alongside its six other original members—Brittany Bales, Mark Ervin, WaTasha Barnes Griffin, Dave Heeter, Keith O’Neal, and James Williams—since the beginning of the Ball State-MCS partnership.
“We are so proud of the continued success that has resulted from our University’s partnership with Muncie Community Schools,” said Ball State Board of Trustees Chair Renae Conley. “As we continue this important work, we believe that maintaining the composition of the school board will continue to be imperative to future success. We are grateful for Jim’s commitment, both to MCS and to our University, and look forward to more positive outcomes for our city schools moving forward.”
Ball State received oversight authorization of MCS from the Indiana General Assembly in May 2018. Since that time, under the direction of the seven-member school board and the leadership of Dr. Lee Ann Kwaitkowski, CEO and Director of Public Education at MCS, the district has ushered in a wave of positive changes, including:
- Student enrollment is up for the first time in 15 years.
- Budgets have been balanced annually since 2018 and are now millions in the black after previously facing a debt of more than $10 million.
- Teacher pay has increased by 30 percent, with MCS now one of the top-paying districts in the state; combined with a shared sense of optimism, teacher retention rates have increased to nearly 90 percent during the partnership.
“The appointment of the seven-member governing body for Muncie Community Schools has proven transformational for the district,” President Mearns said. “These community leaders—women and men whose skills and experience complement one another—have been fundamental to executing our collective vision. I remain grateful to all the MCS Board members, including Jim Lowe, who have remained committed to serving on behalf of the students and families in the district.”
Also at Friday’s meeting, the Ball State Board received an update on another record-breaking result for One Ball State Day, the University’s annual 24-hour giving opportunity for alumni, faculty, staff, and friends.
This year’s One Ball State Day, held April 5, resulted in a record $1.23 million raised from more than 7,400 gifts from all 50 states and 11 countries. There were 248 gifts from Ball State students and more than 2,500 gifts from University employees.
“I am grateful to everyone who participated once again in this year’s One Ball State Day celebration,” President Mearns said. “It is wonderful to see Cardinals from across the world joining together to give to the areas of the University that matter most to them. These philanthropic investments support the academic programs, student organizations, and numerous funds that enable our University’s mission of empowering our students to have fulfilling careers and meaningful lives.”