Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Lewis D. Ferebee received acclaim from state education leaders for his efforts to advance innovation and transformation in the district and champion education reform in our state. Dr. Ferebee participated on the education panel at the Bingham Greenebaum Doll Legislative Conference with State Board of Education member Dr. Brad Oliver, Senator Carlin Yoder and Indiana Department of Education Director of Legislative Affairs John Barnes.

Dr. Ferebee’s fellow panel members commended his leadership as he works to establish IPS as a trailblazer for urban education reform.

IPS School Board Commissioner Diane Arnold said, “I’m pleased to see the positive interaction between IPS and State education leadership. This can only strengthen our efforts to increase student achievement and better serve our families.”

House Republicans have named education funding as a top priority for the legislative session. Dr. Ferebee specifies the legislature should find ways to adequately fund all public schools. There are a number of suburban districts that are not receiving sufficient funding to meet their needs. The same is true for IPS and many other high-poverty school districts and charter schools. One positive step the legislature could take is to increase the foundation funding, which would benefit all school corporations and charters.

“There seems to be a misperception that state funding for public schools has increased every year,” Dr. Ferebee said; however, that is inaccurate – especially for IPS. Five years ago IPS received nearly $1,000 more in per-pupil funding than it does today. Without any more changes in the school funding formula, IPS is already slated to receive even less per-pupil funding over the next couple of years.”

All members of the education panel agreed that the state’s accountability model needs to be strengthened and must be fair. Dr. Ferebee notes student growth as a priority for the state’s accountability model; each student should realize a minimum of one year’s academic growth each school year. This is a transitional year for Indiana schools, as districts could face fluctuating results under new state standards and assessments.

Governor Mike Pence made some huge announcements at LegCon today. In the wake of tense State Board of Education (SBOE) sessions, Gov. Pence is calling for an overhaul of Indiana’s educational leadership. He is issuing an executive order to dissolve the Center for Education and Career Innovation. Governor Pence also proposes changes to SBOE leadership.

Education is at the top of Gov. Pence’s agenda this legislative session, and we’re pleased that many of his initiatives should benefit IPS. He’s committed to the concept of “transformation zones,” allowing for innovation in the recovery of struggling schools. The governor is also pushing for increased career and technical training opportunities in Indiana’s schools. We have a thriving Career Technology Education center at IPS, and we look forward to continued growth there.

“Governor Pence is pushing for bold strides in education,” Dr. Ferebee said. “We know all students are capable of excellence, and it’s time we all work together to ensure the greatest opportunities for success. As our governor introduces more initiatives to positively impact our public schools, IPS is now better positioned to lead our own transformation.”