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Controversial bill allowing Muncie schools takeover dies in dramatic fashion

A controversial bill died on the last day of the session Wednesday capping a dramatic end to the 2018 General Assembly. HB 1315 concerned Gary and Muncie schools, and any public-school district designated fiscally distressed in the future. 

A controversial component of the bill would have granted Ball State University control of Muncie Community Schools. The bill would have dissolved Muncie’s locally-elected school board and made it an advisory board to a new governing body appointed by Ball State University, of whose members only four of seven must reside in Muncie.

Collective bargaining rights for Muncie teachers were also in jeopardy. Ball State would have had the power to recognize an exclusive representative under the collective bargaining laws and only in school buildings that its board authorized.

For other teachers across Indiana, the bill would have enabled an emergency manager – assigned to a school district deemed to be in fiscal distress – to lay off up to five percent of the teachers mid-year.

Legislators ran out of time to hear the bill as the deadline for it to pass both the House and the Senate was midnight. That deadline was briefly put into question when it was announced that Gov. Eric Holcomb had signed an order extending the session until 1 a.m. ET, Thursday.

However, after Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane asked for time to research the legality of the gubernatorial extension, President Pro Tempore David Long, in a leadership role, elected to call for the immediate adjournment sine die of the 2018 session.

HB 1315 was not the only bill to die due to the time crunch. Stay tuned.