Virtual charter school gets another pass after six years of F grades
A failing virtual charter school has again avoided being shut down by the Indiana State Board of Education.
Hoosier Academy Virtual Charter School has received an F grade since 2010, with the long-failing school eligible for closure in 2015. Since charter schools do not come under the traditional public school accountability laws, closure has been what charter school supporters refer to as their accountability.
The state board again decided the school’s fate at its meeting Wednesday. Rather than closing the school, board members instead voted to cap the school’s enrollment and reduce the fee Ball State University received as the school’s charter authorizer.
Hoosier Academy and Ball State surprised state board members last year when they revealed during their last appeal to remain open that they had created yet another virtual charter school called Insight School of Indiana.
State board member and head of Hoosier Academy, Byron Ernest, said at the time the new school was created to serve middle and high school students struggling academically. It would need to fail for several years before facing a similar state intervention.
With Wednesday’s decision to keep Hoosier Academies open, the failing virtual charter school will significantly benefit from funding changes under the newly passed state budget.
The school has been budgeted nearly $40 million over the next two years, with an increase of 4.2 percent in 2018 – significantly higher than the average increase of 1.8 percent.
Hoosier Academy’s sister school, Insight School is budgeted nearly $11 million over the next two years.
Hoosier Academy and Insight School are managed by K12, Inc., a for-profit charter school operator. The company has given Indiana Republicans more than $90,000. In 2011, the legislature passed a law that allowed K12, Inc. to open for-profit charter schools in Indiana, at taxpayer expense.
ISTA will continue to fight to hold charter schools more accountable to the kids they serve and the taxpayers who fund them.