SULLIVAN COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– A proposal for a new charter school in Sullivan County will not move forward after a decision by the Indiana Charter School Board.

The Sullivan County School of Choice was looking to replace the Rural Community Academy, which was set to shut down when Ball State University decided not to renew its charter. Several parents petitioned the ICSB to keep the school going under a different name with different leadership, but it was voted against during a board meeting on May 9th. 

School leader for RCA Derek Grant said the decision came down to enrollment and financials– much like the one Ball State made several months ago. During the school board meeting for RCA on Tuesday, members passed a resolution to go forward with the disillusionment of the school. 

Board President Susie Pierce reflected on the legacy of RCA following the meeting. 

“Education is a great thing, and we always talk about it, but we had no choices. With the charter school being the first rural charter school in Indiana, we had an opportunity to give parents a choice. So they could choose which school they wanted to go based upon what they felt was an education,” she said. “The thing that’s most important is I’m really proud of the other schools and the corporation because they have upped their game to where we have seen them implement programs much like ours. So it’s good for Sullivan County kids.”

Grant echoed those feelings, and said he was sad he wouldn’t get another school year in the building. 

“Part of the really difficult part of all of this is not returning next year with the students and staff. You definitely form friendships, you watch educators grow and become great teachers. You watch students come in as kindergarteners really struggling, especially the last couple of years as they’ve come in farther and farther behind because of COVID, and you watch these kids grow,” he said. 

Pierce said the next few months they will follow the closure plan that was given to them by Ball State. Much of the work involves transferring student records and figuring out what to do with the building and remaining expenses.

Pierce thanked the staff, families and students who have passed through RCA the past two decades.

“In addition to the parents and to the community and to the staff, these kids have had a different way to learn, to be able to grow their education in a different way because all schools do not fit the needs of all students.” she said. 

Grant added RCA will continue to live on through the improvements at other nearby schools. 

“Even though we have to close out here now, we still will be able to see the legacy of RCA through other schools and the education kids are getting,” he said.