As the Indiana General Assembly prepares for the 2015 Legislative Session in January, Indianapolis Public Schools is also working on the top four items we’ll be lobbying for during this year’s session.

Our priorities include:

1. Provide adequate funding to overcome the challenges of poverty and achieve academic success

Indiana currently has a “dollars follow the child” formula that bases each school district’s funding on the number and needs of children served. Because children who live in poverty have greater needs, the index provides additional funding to educate these students. House Republicans announced they want to “fix” the school funding formula to close the funding gap between high-poverty and low-poverty districts. This could mean less funding to help students from low-income families overcome the challenges of poverty and achieve academic success.

2. Provide additional funding for high-quality preschool programs that serve children who live in poverty

IPS provides preschool programs for over 600 children at 24 different sites in the district. In order to pay for this preschool program, IPS has redirected over $3 million in Title I funding. Although Marion County has been selected to receive state funding from the preschool pilot program, this funding will only serve a portion of children who live in poverty in the IPS district.

3. Support legislation that preserves neighborhood schools that have been taken over by the state

Charter Schools USA has asked the State Board of Education for authorization to expand the grade levels served at T.C. Howe, Emma Donnan and Emmerich Manual. CS-USA has also offered to take over Arlington if the State Board grants it a 5-year contract and allows it to expand the grade levels served at Arlington.Over 20 IPS boundary schools (2000+ IPS students) feed into Howe, Emma Donnan, Manual and Arlington. If CS-USA is permitted to expand these schools many of the neighborhood schools will be forced to close.

4. Require a teacher who accepts a job in another school district to provide 30-day notice

Under former state law, teachers who entered into a contract with another school district after August 15th were required to give 30-day notice or obtain a waiver. The legislature revised this statute in 2014 to require 30-day notice if the school year was scheduled to start in 14 days or less. Students deserve to have a qualified teacher in every classroom starting on the first day of the school year. The loopholes need to be closed to ensure that all school districts have sufficient time to act in the best interest of students by filling teacher vacancies with highly-qualified educators.

Please support IPS as we lobby for funding, preschool, takeover reform and teacher resignation notices.