At the first Agenda Review Session of the summer, the
Indianapolis Public Schools Board of School Commissioners discussed several initiatives
to improve efficiency and the experience for our students in the coming year.
Commissioners discussed the potential sale, lease or
exchange of underused district property. In the interest of reducing
maintenance costs and bringing in revenue from potential sale, three properties
may be declared surplus, meaning they are no longer needed for school purposes.
If Commissioners approve the surplus declaration Thursday, the following
properties may be sold:
Revival Temple Apostolic Church (also known as Phillips Temple) and associated
parking lot – 1226 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St.
Building (also known as the Ford Building) – 1316 Southeastern Ave.
Complex (Transportation Center for Indianapolis Public Schools) – 901 N.
Carrollton Ave. (811 E. 10th St. on Marion County property listing)
SCIPS complex were sold, current operations in the facility (bus maintenance
and transportation, facilities storage, Operation School Bell) will have new
locations identified to ensure service to our students and families continues
without interruption. The Mallory Building is currently used as a warehouse;
our facilities management team would identify necessary replacement storage space
in the event of the building’s sale.
The IPS Curriculum and Instruction Division presented proposed
textbook rental rates to Commissioners. This year’s formula includes no
increase in fees for elementary textbooks. Proposed rental charts can be found
at the following links:
Commissioners were briefed on implementation of revisions to
the IPS dress code approved earlier this year. While the basic details
remain the same as last school year, students will have the flexibility for
more individual expression within a cohesive aesthetic. Elementary students may
now wear shirts in any color, and students younger than third grade are not required
to wear belts. Hooded sweatshirts are acceptable, provided they bear an
official school logo. Also, there are no restrictions on sock color. Find a
visual guide to the dress code here.
Previous discussion by the Board included the recommendation
of more initiatives to employ diverse and local businesses for contracted
services and supplies. A revision to the Board’s supplier diversity policy has
been proposed; this outlines specifically the desire to increase participation
with local businesses that closely represent our school community. The proposed
language specifies that the board may request information on the demographic
makeup of a company’s employees, as well as educational and philanthropic
initiatives of the organization. Finally, the Board would be able to request
more information on a contractor’s diversity policies to ensure the district
supports companies with values that align to ours.
Title IX/Anti-Harassment Policy Revisions
Proposed revisions to the district’s Title IX and
Anti-Harassment and Discrimination policies were submitted for review by
Commissioners. Our legal counsel drafted new language in the interest of
maintaining best-practice standards, streamlining complaint processes, and
ensuring all legal obligations are met.
Code of Ethics
Commissioners recommended the incorporation of the Indiana
School Board Association (ISBA) Code of Ethics, found here. Current Board policy includes a code
of ethics, but the ISBA maintains a recommended code for use by member
corporations. If approved, Commissioners could decide to replace the current
Code of Ethics, or incorporate the ISBA Code into the existing language.
“It helps to guide us as we do our work, and it helps to
educate the public on what’s expected of us as a School Board,” said
Commissioner Kelly Bentley.
Commissioner Caitlin Hannon recommended a proposal to
redesign the Board policy manual. Rather than revising several policies a
month, Commissioners agreed a broader redesign of policies to align with the
Board’s Core Commitments and Beliefs would be an efficient and effective plan
to include with the proposal to revise the Code of Ethics.
Our legislative legal team, Joe Smith and Libby Cierzinak of
Faegre Baker Daniels, presented a summary of the 2015 Indiana General Assembly
and its impact on IPS. Basic per-pupil funding is slated to drop in 2016, but will
rise in 2017 to total approximately $30 more per student. Full-day kindergarten
will benefit IPS, as each of our Kindergarten students will receive additional
funding of roughly $1,000 over current amounts. The per-pupil complexity index
funding is slated to drop 10% over the next two years; despite the initial
proposed House budget, which included a 30% drop for IPS.
IPS is estimated to receive an additional $400,000 in
funding for English Language Learners, as legislators agreed to devote an
additional $5M to ELL services statewide. Increased awards for performance and
improvement in ISTEP+, graduation rates, and teacher effectiveness will bring
in an estimated $1.1M in 2016 and $1.5M in 2017.
HEA 1009, the expansion of Innovation Network Schools to
districts statewide, actually expands the authority of IPS to preserve
neighborhood schools. IPS may reconstitute any schools in the district to
become part of the Innovation Network, and open new Innovation Network schools
in any building where there is capacity.
An amendment in SEA 500 requires teachers to give a 30-day
notice or receive a release from IPS if they accept a job with another Indiana school
district less than two weeks before they are required to report to work in IPS.
Failure to submit to IPS the proper resignation notice or obtain a release from
the district would nullify an employment contract with another Indiana school
corporation. This amendment closes loopholes present in previous legislation
that did not account for varying start dates in school districts.
HEA 1638 authorized alternatives to state takeover for
failing schools, including Transformation Zones and Innovation Network Schools.
IPS is preparing to employ both options within the district in the near future.