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IPS Board of School Commissioners Unanimously Approve Rebuilding Stronger Plan

Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) is taking a giant step to ensure all IPS students — not just some of them — have access to rigorous and higher-performing, high demand academic programs and models in upgraded or new facilities, thanks to the approval of the Rebuilding Stronger plan. 

The IPS Board of School Commissioners unanimously (7-0) approved the bold and courageous plan during Thursday’s Board Action Session. 

Rebuilding Stronger is designed to reinvent, rebuild, redesign and rethink IPS’ family of schools, how it spends resources, and how to effectively leverage facilities — with the ultimate commitment of ensuring excellent schools for all students in all neighborhoods throughout the IPS district. 

“No matter the color of your skin, your zip code, your income level, or what language you speak at home, students should have access to a variety of high-performing, high-demand schools that provide rigorous and engaging academics, exciting extracurriculars, and competitive athletics and club sports played on new and upgraded fields and courts, and athletic facilities. This is what Rebuilding Stronger will do,” said IPS Superintendent Dr. Aleesia Johnson. “I am excited that the Board believes in and supports this initiative, and has given us the green light to move forward to ensure equitable access for all students.”

For more than a year, IPS leadership and Board Commissioners have been engaging with all stakeholders, sharing details of the plan and soliciting feedback.

“As a result of feedback received from district stakeholders, IPS updated aspects of the plan to better reflect the voices of parents, students, staff and community partners — while still ensuring equity in the student experience for all students,” Dr. Johnson said.

Evan Hawkins, IPS Board president, said Board Commissioners are grateful for the intense work conducted by the district to create Rebuilding Stronger, and then to take the process a step further by listening and incorporating many of the concerns and suggestions proposed by the community.

“A year ago, the Board came to Dr. Johnson, challenging her and the IPS staff to develop a bold plan that would dramatically transform the district,” said Hawkins. “Thanks to their efforts, IPS will be a district that gives every child a choice in how and where they learn. Tonight, we have placed equity and access over the status quo.”

During the Agenda Review Session on Tuesday, Nov.15, the Board reviewed a proposal to put on the ballot next May two referendums (capital and operating) that would fund Rebuilding Stronger, allowing the district to fund new and expanded academic offerings and make key investments in upgraded or new facilities throughout IPS. The final referendum determination hearing is set for Dec. 6, and must be approved by the Board.

“I’ve never sugar-coated anything for our community, and I’ll be candid that the stakes are high here,” Dr. Johnson said. “Without the voter support of both the capital and operating referendums in May 2023, there is no path to the expanded offerings our community has so rightly demanded through our Rebuilding Stronger plan. There is no Plan B that will give us a quality, sustainable education for our children. A quality education ought to be a right. It’s on us to make it so.”

The operating referendum would raise $50 million annually until 2031 and would propose a local property tax levy of no more than $0.25 on each $100 of assessed valuation. If approved, effective January 1, 2024, the $0.25 rate would replace the current $0.19 local property tax levy. 

The operating referendum would:

  • Continue to support competition compensation for staff.
  • Fund the enhanced student experience for all students.
  • Fund the expansion and replication of academic programming across IPS.

The capital referendum would seek to generate $410 million and call for a local property tax levy of no more than $0.2066 per $100 of assessed valuation. 

This referendum would: 

  • Support new construction and renovations to expand and enhance the elementary and middle school experience.
  • Address critical deferred maintenance needs in some IPS-owned school facilities.

To learn more about the Rebuilding Stronger Plan and details on the capital and operating referendums, visit, and click on the Rebuilding Stronger graphic at the top of the page. 

What the IPS Community Is Saying About Rebuilding Stronger

“Rebuilding Stronger shows IPS’s commitment to improving both the daily student experience and overall student outcomes by focusing on middle school as a key time for a student’s growth and development. Moving students into a more traditional middle school environment will expand the options students have to learn, as well as their access to a broader range of extracurricular opportunities. The opportunity to learn an instrument or a new language — options that do not exist in my K–8 building — will provide lifelong learning opportunities to students that will also help them as they progress through high school and life after school. 

— Caleb Prewitt,  ELA teacher at James A. Garfield School 31.

“As the world is ever changing and evolving, it is great to see the Indianapolis Public School system do the same for the future of all students in the district. It is with change that we grow.”

— Amanda Kay Baker,  parent of four children in IPS schools.

“Without a doubt, Rebuilding Stronger will be the mechanism to boost IPS. As a principal, I am excited because Rebuilding Stronger will change the fundamentals so every IPS student — particularly Black and brown — has an experience defined by excellent choices. Every elementary school will have art, music, physical education, and computer science classes. I cannot wait to see how our students and families embrace the new opportunities.”

— Allen Mickens, principal at Ralph Waldo Emerson School 58.

“Rebuilding Stronger is the bridge needed to propel students forward towards college, career, or enlistment. Rebuilding Stronger puts specialized programs in each enrollment zone that will give opportunities for our students to attend a district school that provides instruction that appeals to their unique learning style. It puts instruments in the hands of middle schoolers, which I cannot currently do for my students. Multiple options for foreign language will be made available to our students, opening vast opportunities in our ever changing world. While there is always a feeling of loss and mourning with any change, the benefits of Rebuilding Stronger far outweigh those feelings. (The plan) is an extension of our racial equity commitment as a district, by tying in equity with instruction, offerings, and infrastructure. This is such an exciting time to be part of Indianapolis Public Schools.”

— Adrienne Kuchik, Principal, James A. Garfield School 31