IPS Board of School Commissioners Response to the Statement Released by the AACI
We would like to express our gratitude for the African American Coalition of Indianapolis (AACI) for their support of Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) and the proposed 2023 Capital Referendum. We wholeheartedly agree that our students deserve much more than what we as a community have provided. The intention of our Rebuilding Stronger plan is to drastically improve the student experience and academic outcomes for our students. The referendum is what IPS needs to make that plan a reality.
The education landscape of Central Indianapolis is complex. It is a mix of traditional district schools, innovation schools that partner with IPS, independent charter schools, and private schools. We believe that every student — regardless of school choice —deserves an excellent high-quality education which requires adequate funding and appropriate accountability. It’s the responsibility of our legislators to increase the budget to fund this complex landscape. If we reduce funding, all students will lose.
Moving forward, we must work collaboratively with civic leaders, organizations, and community members to re-imagine an education landscape that serves all students well. We believe that our community is long overdue for a collective assessment and discussion of the educational landscape within the IPS district, and we are committed to developing collaborative partnerships to that end.
Again, we would like to thank all in the community who have given their support and encourage more to be involved moving forward.
The appropriate funding of Indianapolis Public Schools has been an issue of concern within the Black community for decades going back to a desegregation funding formula that took money from the district.
We are unaware of any serious argument that IPS and the children who attend IPS district schools receive too many resources.
In fact, the periodic haggling by some institutions in this community over what IPS and the Black and Brown children that matriculate in the district should have is not only shortsighted and counterproductive to workforce development, but also borders on paternalism.
Our children have always deserved more than what we as a community have provided.
IPS needs the resources that it needs. There are ongoing discussions about the plans for the resources, that should continue.
We state unequivocally that IPS children should not be penalized for the presence of most of the charter schools in the state operating within its boundaries.
Equity does not demand that IPS children receive less so that charter schools receive more.
Efforts to seize IPS funding in the name of equity when advocates for charter schools in their inception agreed to not seek tax funding for buildings or transportation ring with a level of disingenuousness that has compelled our collective engagement.
While collectively our members support public, private, and charter schools we affirm that if charter schools do receive public dollars they should operate under the same level of accountability as other public schools. Funding should come with accountability.
We remain concerned that the current regime for all the authorizers operating in the IPS district too often does not meet the expectations of our community and that an entirely different paradigm for what accountability should look like for charter, district, and private schools is past due.
We also think it is important to consider the implications of financially supporting institutions that when they close, have likely been allowed to stay open too long, create a significant disruption to families, and potentially substantial losses of public dollars.
We appreciate the need for innovation in public education and are not calling for a moratorium on charter schools at this time.
We do question the efficacy of our education landscape and if children are truly benefiting under our current system. Touted successes are often underwhelming in the grand scheme of what we all want for every child—and especially Black children in IPS.
We support the IPS referendum even as we seek increased accountability for all schools and reject the false choice of supporting Black children at the expense of others.
A better direction for the civic discourse on IPS and charter school funding should examine ways that both get what they need to improve the state of education in Marion County.
While recognize permanent school funding changes must ultimately happen at the state legislature, we call on city officials to examine how the downtown TIF might be leveraged to support IPS and charter schools.
We call on civic institutions who focus on IPS to consider how they might better support IPS and the other township schools.
Finally, we affirm that equity is providing the necessary resources to alleviate systemic disparities that have occurred over time—not changing the rules to punish IPS.
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Alpha Mu Omega Chapter
Alpha Phi Alpha Iota Lambda Chapter
Baptist Ministers Alliance
The Black Men’s Group
Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis
Delta Sigma Theta Indianapolis Alumnae Chapter
The exchange at the Indianapolis Urban League
Fathers and Families Center
Indiana Black Expo
Indianapolis Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc.
Indianapolis Urban League
Indy Black Chamber of Commerce
Iota Phil Theta Fraternity, Inc. Alpha Alpha Omega Indianapolis Alumni Chapter
Minority Contractors Collaboration
National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Indianapolis Chapter
Next Level Academics
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Phi Mu Nu Chapter
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Zeta Phi Chapter
The 100 Black Men of Indianapolis
The Fathers Foundation
The Indianapolis Ministerium
The Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance
The Ross Foundation
Union District Missionary Baptist Association, Inc.