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April 21, 2017

 

For the
first time since releasing its report, the IPS Facilities Utilization Taskforce publicly discussed its recommendation to close three IPS high schools, and the findings
it used to make that decision.

 

On Tuesday, April 18, Taskforce
members answered questions from the community and the Indianapolis Public
Schools Board of School Commissioners. IPS Operations Officer David
Rosenberg reminded the public of the district’s cost-cutting measures in recent
years, which has resulted in the district saving $22 million.

 

Rosenberg
explained the Taskforce’s process for researching and analyzing several factors,
including historical and enrollment data and demographic trends. The
Taskforce also considered academics, building capacity, utility and
transportation costs.

 

Historical
data proves why there is a dire need to close some high schools:

 

  • 1967: 109,000 students enrolled (26,000 high school students)
  • 11
    high schools (2,373 students per building)
  • Today: 30,000 students enrolled (5,342 high school students)
  • Seven
    high schools (763 students per building)

 

Collectively,
IPS high schools are currently two-thirds empty. To better utilize space,
the Taskforce recommends IPS operate four (yet to be named) high schools for
the 2018-2019 school year. The district understands this would be a bold
move, but it will allow for the reinvestment of $4 million to continue to support academic
programs, teacher compensation and support services for students.

 

During
the meeting, public concern was shared about what will happen to the buildings that
are closed. IPS officials assured the community that the district will
develop a reuse plan for each school that is recommended for closing.

 

The
process for making a decision will not be quick. A careful timeline was
planned to include plenty of community engagement:

 

  • April
    through May 2017: The Board will hold four public neighborhood meetings to
    gather input, concern and feedback. 
  • June
    2017: The administration will consider the feedback and make recommendations on which schools to close, a reuse plan for those buildings, and academic
    programming at the schools that remain open. 
  • July
    through August 2017: Commissioners will hold their regularly scheduled Board meetings
    at each high school recommended for closure to gather additional public
    comment. 
  • September
    18, 2017: The Board will vote on which schools to close, a reuse plan for
    those buildings, and academic programming at the schools that remain open.

 

There
will be no impact on current
academic or Choice/Magnet models
as a result of high school closures and no personnel decisions will be
considered prior to the Board vote on which schools will close.

 

For more
information on the Facilities Utilization Taskforce Report and the list of the
community meetings, visit myips.org.