When the Indianapolis Public Schools Board of School Commissioners convened for its Agenda Review Session on Tuesday, February 26, and Board Action Session on Thursday, February 28, topics included updates on support programs, Innovation Network school agreements, a 2019-20 budget development update and much more.

What follows is a deeper look at those agenda items.

2019-20 Budget Development Overview

Chief Financial Manager, Weston Young, presented an update on the 2019-20 school year budget. This included a status on district funds, financial management projects and priorities, and current initiatives.

What Audiences Need to Know:

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

  • Budget appropriation authorizes maximum spending authority but it is not a guarantee of district revenues, nor is it a line-item budget or breakdown of expenditures by use.
  • The budget appropriation process includes:
  • Public Hearing — March 11, 2019, at Arsenal Tech High School on the 2nd floor of the Arsenal Building.
  • Budget Appropriations Adoption — Expected at the Board Action Session on March 21, 2019.
  • In June 2019, fund balances are projected to be in line with the Board’s cash management policy when Rainy Day Fund and Operating Referendum Fund cash balances are included.
  • The successful Operating and Capital Referenda will strengthen the budget development process for the upcoming 2019-2020 school year.
  • Initial and tentative estimates show IPS ahead of target savings for the current and upcoming academic year. This is due to transportation savings and personnel cost savings.
  • In the absence of future operational changes, education and operational fund balances are projected to be exhausted by SY 2022-23
  • Beginning with the upcoming fiscal year, all Indiana school districts will consolidate local property-tax funds into one fund titled “Operations Fund,” which will allow unrestricted flexibility in how funds are used to meet operational needs.

ELEVATE Indianapolis Partnership Update

IPS Special Projects Director, Joe Gramelspacher, presented to commissioners an update on ELEVATE Indianapolis — a privately funded 501(c)(3) organization that places full-time mentors in high school classrooms to teach a comprehensive curriculum around 13 character qualities and life skills.

Example Program Offerings:

  • Classroom Instruction by full-time mentors.
  • Outstanding curriculum for class credit in high schools.
  • Year-round availability of mentors to develop long-term, life-changing relationships.
  • Partnerships with afterschool youth service providers in the Central Indiana region.
  • Service-learning opportunities.

Key Messages:

  • ELEVATE Indianapolis is designed to align with successful models in Denver, Orlando, Phoenix, New York and Portland.
  • The Board of School Commissioners approved the initial memorandum of understanding with ELEVATE Indianapolis in October 2015.
  • ELEVATE Indianapolis launched on the Arsenal Tech High School campus with two classes in January 2016.
  • The 2016-17 school year saw the expansion of ELEVATE Indianapolis to full pipeline implementation with the inclusion of Harshman Middle School and Theodore Potter School 74.

ACTION: Approved 7-0

Cenergistic Energy Savings Update

Deputy Superintendent for Operations, Scott Martin, updated commissioners on the energy savings contract with Cenergistic. IPS personnel work closely with Cenergistic engineers to audit and optimize energy usage and equipment across all buildings and facilities throughout the district.

Key Messages:

  • The contract is for a term of five years and started on June 1, 2018.
  • IPS pays Cenergistic 50 percent of its energy savings.
  • Contract payments to Cenergistic are paid entirely from baseline energy expenditure reductions and do not require any up front capital investment.
  • Cenergistic covers the cost of energy consultants and three on-site energy specialists to support implementation of the district’s energy savings plan.
  • At the start of the program, first-year net savings were projected at nearly $1.1 million.
  • Only six months into the program, savings already total nearly $1.1 million, far exceeding projections.
  • Five-year net savings are projected at nearly $8 million.

Phalen Leadership Academy @ George H. Fisher School 93 Innovation Conversion

IPS Portfolio Officer, Jamie VanDeWalle, presented a detailed overview of the Innovation contract modification for Phalen Leadership Academy @ George H. Fisher School 93.

Commissioners reviewed an updated agreement that aligns the terms of the partnership so it’s similar to those of other charter partners in IPS neighborhood schools. Transportation and facilities upkeep will not change.

What Audiences Need to Know:

  • George H. Fisher School 93 has been an Innovation Conversion school since the 2016-17 school year.
  • The school has consistently trended in the top tiers of growth across all IPS schools.
  • Enrollment has increased by approximately 50 students since the 2016-17 school year.
  • The operator, Phalen Academies of Indiana, wishes to use a charter to operate the school. Previously it was an IPS LEA Innovation school.

Benefits of Converting to a Charter:

  • No change in the neighborhood boundaries, bus routes or student access to the school.
  • The school calendar, length of day and the staff will remain the same.
  • More consistency across Phalen Academies in Indianapolis, making operations more streamlined and efficient.
  • It would drive more dollars into the classroom.
  • Savings to IPS due to the school transitioning to per-pupil pass-through funding (like all other charter partners) and away from Student-Based Allocation, where the school is subject to a lengthy transition policy.

ACTION: Approved 5-2

KIPP Innovation Agreement Changes and Updates

During this month’s Board meetings, IPS Portfolio Officer, Jamie VanDeWalle, presented a detailed overview of the proposed Innovation agreement with KIPP Legacy High School and potential modifications to KIPP Indy Unite and KIPP Indy College Prep.

What Audiences Need to Know:

  • KIPP Indy has been a charter partner operating in an IPS facility since the 2015-16 school year.
  • KIPP is preparing to open a high school.
  • KIPP presented to the IPS Board of School Commissioners in November 2018, sharing their desire to partner with IPS for the launch of their new KIPP Legacy High School for transportation services and to create a proximity boundary.

Highlights of the terms include:

  • KIPP Legacy High School is not located in an IPS facility, but was built as new construction in their current neighborhood.
  • Both parties are favorable to KIPP Legacy High School partnering with IPS for transportation at the cost that IPS pays to provide such transportation.
  • KIPP wishes to draw a boundary near their schools in order to readily admit more students from the proximate zip codes to their schools through the Enroll Indy system. According to state law, this is only possible through an Innovation Network agreement.
  • Parties are also discussing updates to the KIPP Indy Unite and KIPP Indy College Prep Innovation agreements to align them with the terms and provisions of other charter partners operating in an IPS facility.

ACTION: Approved 5-2