Steve Hinnefeld has a good post on HB 1315 which allowed, among other things, Ball State to take over the Muncie Community Schools. (The citizens of Gary also lose their ability to govern their school corporation.) Yesterday, I had tweeted some of the arbitrary, but mostly incidental exemptions the General Assembly decided to give Muncie Schools. For example, while they are still required to fly the flag, Muncie Schools are no longer required to sing the national anthem or offer a moment of silence for prayer like other public schools are required to do. Steve’s post gets into some more substantive exemptions:
The state law that calls for schools to receive A-to-F grades on the basis of student test scores and other measures? Muncie schools will be exempt. The law requiring state intervention and potential takeover for schools that consistently get low grades? Exempt from that too.
The post also says, “Behning said drastic measures were called for after the Muncie and Gary school districts dug themselves in deep financial holes.” The conceit that Gary and Muncie simply did this to themselves reminds me of a post-fight interview I watched a long time ago. “Merciless” Ray Mercer had knocked out Tommy “Machine Gun” Morrison. As Wikipedia put it, “With Morrison backed up into the corner, Mercer was able to land a 15–punch combination. Clearly hurt from the exchange, Morrison slumped against the ropes, but the referee allowed Mercer to land several more punishing blows to a now defenseless Morrison before finally ending the fight.” After the fight, Mercer was asked about it. He replied, “fight should’ve been stopped. Man could’ve been killed.” The phrasing stuck with me. As if he had no responsibility for the punishment inflicted on Morrison.
I’m sure Gary and Muncie could have done better, but as the post points out: “Both districts have lost considerable state revenue, in part because of changes in the school funding formula and in part because of the growth of charter schools, vouchers and inter-district public school transfers. Both had their local tax revenue cut dramatically by Indiana’s property tax caps.” Those have to be analogous to a good 9 or 10 of these punches: