Indianapolis
Public Schools announces the approval of its 2016-2017 school year budget by
the Board of School Commissioners. IPS is committed to maintaining transparency
and fiscal responsibility through a public-facing budget development process;
after publicly posting the proposed budget and conducting three public meetings
to address the planning of our district’s financial future, the process wrapped
with this special-called meeting on March 28.  

This is an exciting time for IPS;
with the implementation of IPS Strategic Plan 2015
underway, we are focusing on improving and expanding our services to students
and families while also increasing the efficiency of our daily operations.
It takes investment to yield strong results, and this school year our
financial division has earmarked funds for some very important initiatives. IPS
proudly announced raises for our teachers earlier this school year; this
commitment to increased compensation resulted in the devotion of 90 percent of
the general fund to employee salaries.  

IPS
Strategic Plan 2015 outlines a variety of initiatives and process improvements
designed to positively impact our community. In alignment with the Board of
School Commissioners’ dedication to creating more Autonomy in our schools,
allowing our talented educators to do what they know is best to ensure student
achievement (as outlined in the Board Core Commitments and Beliefs),
IPS has earmarked $5M to the development and implementation of initiatives to
support these items in IPS Strategic Plan 2015.

 

“We are
excited about the opportunities to incorporate the strategic plan Innovation
and Autonomy initiatives through system upgrades, assessments and
implementations that are needed to transform our district and also to develop
our talent,” said IPS Chief Financial Manager Weston Young.

 

These
investments in student outcomes and employee compensation come despite
continued deficits in state tuition support, also known as per-pupil funding.
With district enrollment expected to remain steady for the coming school year,
projected state funding is still expected to be 1.2% less than IPS received in
the 2014-2015 school year.

 

“A lot of
our strategic plan implementation involves one-time expenses,” said Young. “In
order to do something different we have to assess, we have to analyze and
implement – and a lot of that has to do with getting people with expertise in a
variety of fields whether that’s transportation, systems, IT, talent
development…and those are expenses that we do not expect to recur every year.”

 

The pie
charts below provide an overview of the expected revenue and expenses for SY
2016-2017; additional information on the budget planning process can be found
on the IPS website
and BoardDocs.

 

 

2016-2017 Projected Revenue

 

 2016-2017 Projected Expenses

 

 

Strategic
liquidation of unused (and underused) property is a key component of IPS’
fiscal plan. Several properties have been sold in the last year, and the SCIPS
property – the former Coca-Cola bottling plant on Mass Ave – is currently the
main focus of the IPS Real Estate Advisory Committee. Revenue from property
sales, along with maintenance funds saved, can offset the cost of other
district projects.

 

Another
strategic initiative to increase the district’s long-term financial outlook is
the expansion of Pre-Kindergarten options for our families. IPS currently has
15 classrooms with Level Three Paths to Quality certification – a designation
with the potential to generate an additional $270,000 in annual revenue from
the state. By presenting a variety of attractive Pre-K sites across our city,
our district is seeing more and more families choose IPS; as our schools
continue to develop and implement strong and innovative educational models, we
look forward to even more families choosing IPS and returning to our schools
year after year.

 

IPS is
dedicated to supporting success in our schools in many ways; this includes developing
capacity within our schools for a more streamlined management system.

 

“The
principals that are at schools ready for Autonomy or Innovation still need the
skills and abilities to run autonomous and Innovation schools,” said Young.
“This includes managing the dollars differently through new systems like
Allovue. There is a lot of non-financial data we track including foodservice,
academics, demographics – all of those systems are being retrofitted and
upgraded as well. The budget comes not just from a financial number, but what
the entire scope of our data is telling us about the needs of our district.”

 

In the
coming years, IPS will continue to assess and improve these data systems to
ensure our principals have consistent access to the most appropriate school
management tools. We commend the dedication of our financial and administrative
leaders as we work toward another successful school year!