July 22, 2017
The John Marshall Community Forum to discuss the plan to Reinvent IPS High Schools ended shortly after it began. A handful of community members dotted the auditorium and only two people addressed the IPS Board of School Commissioners and administration team members about the future of the school.
“It makes me sad,” said Mary Ann Sullivan, Commissioner President. “I’d like to think all of our schools are special places for someone. But, because we had already announced the transition of John Marshall to a middle school, it’s probably a different situation for people here.”
The administration recommends closing John Marshall Middle School for sale or reuse. It also recommends closing or converting three high schools. That proposal includes converting Northwest High School into a middle school and Arlington High School into a middle school by day and evening high school program afterhours. Under the recommendation, Broad Ripple High School would also be closed for sale or reuse.
“Don’t take it lightly when it comes to selling IPS assets,” said Nathan Harris, community member.
“I have talked with individuals who have opinions and thoughts about John Marshall and they understand the underutilization issue and they also understand some of the deferred maintenance issues about John Marshall,” said IPS Superintendent Dr. Lewis D. Ferebee. “They want us to come up with a strong reuse plan and we intend to do that.”
Once the Board votes and it’s determined what facilities will be sold or repurposed, the IPS Real Estate Advisory Committee will initiate the bid process. The administration and commissioners will provide the community an opportunity to react to proposals regarding the sale or reuse of the building.
It’s also important to point out that converting a high school to a middle school does not create the same underutilization problem that existed before. In addition to the recommendation to close and/or convert schools, the administration also recommends closing administration buildings including Forest Manor Personal Development Center and the Facilities Maintenance Department. The administration recommends moving Forest Manor operations inside Arlington with the proposed middle school and moving FMD inside Northwest with the proposed middle school.
If approved, the administration’s changes would go into effect in the 2018-19 school year.
Career-Themed Academies would also launch along with existing high school choice programs for a total of 45 pathways to ensure graduates are adequately prepared to Enroll in a two or four-year college or university, Enlist in the military or be Employed at a livable wage. Students will have 100 percent choice when deciding what high school they want to attend. The all-choice model will reduce the impacts of student mobility at the high school level, as all students will be transported to the school of their choice regardless of their home address.
IPS has launched a District Transition Team and with the start of the 2017-18 school year, Teacher, Student, Parent and Community Advisory groups will also form to assist the team and ensure a smooth process for all invovled.
Board commissioners will take their regularly scheduled August meetings on the road to remaining schools recommended for closure or conversion. Each meeting will begin with a period for public comment. Speakers may sign-up until noon the day of the meeting.
The remaining meetings are scheduled for:
Tuesday, August 29
Arlington High School
4825 N. Arlington Ave.
Thursday, August 31
Northwest Community High School
5525 W. 34th St.
School commissioners will vote on the recommendation on September 18, 2017 at a special Board meeting.