At the August 31, 2017, Board Action Session, the Indianapolis Public Schools Board of School Commissioners discussed several key initiatives impacting the 2017-2018 school year. 

Topics addressed at this meeting include:

Quarterly Budget Review

IPS continues to maintain financial and operational transparency, provide timely financial updates to stakeholders and communicate progress and new initiatives while investing in strategic priorities.

  • Efficient and Streamlined Business Practices

IPS Strategic Plan Goal 2.8-IPS will maximize resources to increase efficiency while maintaining high quality service to schools by 2018, as measured by district data

Highlights of the budget update included:

  • Healthy Financial Outlook
  • Strong IPS leadership addresses program and funding concerns
  • Right-size real estate utilization
  • Willingness to pursue all revenue options available to an Indiana school district
  • IPS remains strong when compared to other Indiana districts
  • Outlook is stable if we can continue to execute and fund Operational and Academic Transformation informed by the 2015 Strategic Plan
  • General Fund

$19.7M deficit-2016-17

$12.2M deficit-2015-16


  • District maintains level of services students need to reach academic goals
  • Health insurance increases were absorbed by district and not passed to employees
  • Second year of teacher compensation with no additional revenue
  • Capital Projects

$1.3M deficit-2016-17

$2.8M deficit-2015-16


  • District maintained buildings and equipment
  • Grade re-configuration
  • Transportation Funds

$2.5M deficit-2016-17

$660,000 deficit-2015-16


  • Maintained level of services to students
  • Expanded extracurricular opportunities for students
  • 2016-17 vs. 2015-16 Revenue Highlights
  • Strategic decisions about systems and staff roles lead to increased funding
  • $2.4M increase in revenues related to more effective use of time and systems

(Interest, textbooks, Medicaid and grant contributions)

$4.6M inflow of cash from bond proceeds previously paid by Capital Projects Fund.

  • 2017-18 Highlights
  • Support efforts to Reinvent IPS High Schools and strategic programming shifts
  • Continue review, implementation, and use of systems to better align operational resources and time (Kronos-better manage people and save time/money)
  • Launch 3-Tier Transportation Model (more efficient-$2M savings annually)
  • Long-Term Budget Planning
  • Funding considerations include economic forecast, potential legislative and regulatory changes at federal, state, and local levels
  • Ability to provide adequate resources to students
  • Compensation considerations to recruit and retain effective staff
  • Relevant and updated curricular materials and equipment
  • Safe and secure learning environments           
  • Student-Based Allocation
  • Enables school leadership to be more strategic with resources through:
  • Equity – Distribute resources based on student need
  • Transparency – Use clear and easily understood rules for where, how and why dollars flow
  • Flexibility – Empower principals to make smart decisions based on unique student needs

2018 Board Meeting Calendar

Meeting dates and times were adjusted based on commissioner feedback, holiday and school calendar conflicts, and other considerations.  

Action-Passed 5-0

Human Resources Policy and Guidelines Revisions

Consolidate, generalize and refresh Human Resources policies to eliminate redundancies, irrelevant or contradictory guidelines to reflect high-level principles and commitments.

  • Efficient & Streamlined Business Practices

Strategic Plan 2.5-IPS will increase and improve employee recruitment efforts by 100 percent based upon a review of industry standards and district best practices by 2018, as measured by district data

  • FMLA
  • Modernize to align with best practices
  • Move to 12-month calculation period instead of fiscal year
  • Discipline
  • Differentiates conduct vs. job performance
  • Focuses on coaching and alternative measures
  • Provides guidance for managers to conduct investigation
  • Attendance
  • Creates attendance policy
  • Unifies tardiness and absenteeism with the concept of “dependability”
  • Includes expectations of teachers
  • Compensatory Time Off
  • Creates annual cap on accruable comp time hours
  • Prioritizes utilization of compensatory time vs. overtime
  • Creates payout for unused comp time balances annually

Action-Review in 30 Days

Replication and Expansion of High Demand Choice Programs

IPS is committed to creating and supporting high quality programs that meet the needs of families, support the academic and social development of students, offer a variety of instructional models; and connect and anchor communities and neighborhoods.

  • School Autonomy & Accountability

Strategic Plan 1.1-IPS will develop and implement an autonomous schools framework than will allow schools greater flexibility by 2016, as measured by district data

The Board will continue to make data-driven decisions based on academic best practices, demonstrated success and community feedback to replicate and expand programs to ensure every student, in every neighborhood, has access to a high quality academic program.

The Administration will discuss and plan for the following:

  • The expansion of the popular and academically proven Reggio Model/Butler Lab School to a second location
  • Provide high-demand choice programs to increased diverse groups of students
  • Support Center for Inquiry school leaders and staff in planning and consideration of expansion of the CFI model

Action-Passed 5-0

Reinventing IPS High Schools

As IPS continues to improve our city’s largest school district, a reinvention of the high school experience is needed to build upon recent success and ensure the best possible learning environment for all students.

  • School Autonomy & Accountability

Strategic Plan 1.7-IPS will provide research-based tools and support for high schools that assist students with coursework and progression toward their desired post-secondary goals by 2018, as measured by district data.

Starting with the 2018-19 school year, IPS has recommended rightsizing its high school experience by operating only four high schools (Arsenal Technical High School, Crispus Attucks High School, George Washington High School and Shortridge High School)-

This plan includes: 

  • Converting Arlington High School into a middle school during the day and an evening high school after regular school hours, and relocating some district administrative offices into the building.
  • Converting Northwest High School into a middle school and relocating the Newcomer Program and some district administrative offices into the building.
  • Closing Broad Ripple High School for sale and community reuse and relocating Visual & Performing Arts and Humanities programming to Shortridge High School.
  • Closing John Marshall Middle School, the Facilities Maintenance Department building and Forest Manor for sale and community reuse.
  • Retaining Arsenal Tech, Crispus Attucks, George Washington and Shortridge.

Each remaining high school would offer new College and Career-Themed Academies within our extensive menu of academic choice offerings. These academies are designed to empower students to make informed college and career decisions to ensure they are enrolled, enlisted or employed at a livable wage upon graduation.

The following are the programs each school would offer (College and Career-Themed Academies are in bold):

Arsenal Technical High School 

  • Construction, Engineering & Design Academy
  • Military Academy (in development with the Army, all high schools will continue to offer JROTC until the Academy launches)
  • Career Technology Center
  • Math & Science
  • Law & Public Policy
  • New Tech 

Crispus Attucks High School 

  • Health Sciences Academy
  • Teaching, Learning & Leading Academy

George Washington High School 

  • IT Academy
  • Manufacturing, Engineering & Logistics Academy
  • Business & Finance Academy 

Shortridge High School 

  • International Baccalaureate
  • Visual & Performing Arts
  • Entertainment Management and TV Broadcasting
  • Humanities 

Students would also have 100 percent choice when deciding which high school they want to attend. These high school choice options would also include Early/Middle College — onsite learning at a local college campus where students would, respectively, graduate with a high school diploma (plus two years of college courses) or receive a high school diploma (plus college credits).

These high schools are intentionally located near the district’s core to ensure efficient transportation to all students in the district regardless of the high school they choose to attend.

School commissioners will hold their final vote on September 18