We can do hard things together. We can do anything. But we can’t do everything. 

Reorganization Advisory Committee: Meeting 6 Summary

On June 23, the Rebuilding Stronger Reorganization Advisory Committee met to recap where we’ve been, and pivot from the data story to potential solutions. Participants first aligned around a shared statement of what the community most values, and then provided feedback on potential solutions — both the benefits and the tradeoffs.

Our Values

Over the course of the past year, we heard a lot of feedback about what this community most values — and we kicked off this meeting presenting the following summary statement of values: 

Every child in Indianapolis must have what it takes to grow and succeed. That means three things: 

  1. Excellent, more equitable choices for learning, including academics, athletics, and arts, that are accessible to more students. Rigorous, challenging, culturally representative curriculum. An orderly, safe, fair learning environment. A commitment to learn from every school model that works well for kids.
  2. Supports that see every child as a whole child with a full range of human needs, not just an academic learner. Wraparound supports that every family can access. 
  3. Warm, safe, well-kept buildings that promote learning, including inviting outdoor spaces.

Data Recap 

Here’s a quick reminder of what the community process has covered to date: 

Finances

What the data shows:

IPS must make bold, strategic decisions to ensure financial sustainability over time. Doing nothing is not an option — we will go into the red. 

What you said: 

  • “District will go bankrupt without intervention and/or referendum.”
  • “IPS is NOT receiving the resources it needs — schools, students and families are not receiving what they need.” 
  • “Will we be able to not only sustain the district but also produce an equitable system?”

Facilities

What the data shows:

We have many small, underutilized schools — which cost more, and leave limited dollars for enrichments. We also have many buildings with low composite scores: It would cost ~$466 million to bring all district buildings to a condition of “good” or better.

What you said: 

  • “Good number of buildings are underutilized; seems like there would be an opportunity to redistribute and take advantage.”
  • “If we know small schools cost more per pupil to operate, why do they remain open?”

Enrollment and Choice:

What the data shows:

Choice enrollment is increasing, neighborhood enrollment is decreasing; Choice stability is high, neighborhood stability is low. High demand choice schools are serving fewer students of color over time.

What you said: 

  • “How do we replicate the choice school experience?”
  • “There is a large disparity between choice and neighborhood.” 
  • “Will IPS change sibling/proximity policies, given that they appear to exacerbate existing inequities?”

Student Experience

What the data shows:

IPS spends more on ensuring all schools can operate and therefore has less to focus on equity and enhancing student experience. This disproportionately impacts students of color, who are more likely to attend small schools. Larger schools tend to have more enrichment offerings. 

What you said: 

  • “Strong programs give students incentives to come to school and be successful in school.” 
  • “Data shows neighborhood schools with low enrollment have less offerings.”
  • “Does it have to be about choice v. neighborhood? Can’t we just offer more enrichment programs at neighborhood schools?”

Potential Solutions

Having a complete picture of the data — plus community feedback — puts us in a position to move to potential solutions designed to bring our actions, our plans, and our budget in line with our values. During the session, we proposed ways to better align our resources to our values and our priorities. Remember: We can do anything, but we can’t do everything. And it’s got to be equitable. 

Working together, these potential solutions offer a way to provide more equitable access to high-demand and higher-quality schools in more neighborhoods. Click on the PowerPoint below to learn more about each potential option; what it does; why it’s on the table; and what it could look like in practice in schools. 

Join the Conversation: We need YOU to help us reinvent, rebuild, redesign!

 Share your feedback: Attendees at the meeting shared their thoughts on values, trade offs, and approaches. You can share your ideas, too — fill out the survey below.

  • Next up: We’ll use the feedback from this session to inform a draft plan, which we will release in late August. We will hold IPS stakeholder meetings in September to review and gather feedback of the draft plan.
  • The feedback from the draft plan will be used to create a final plan, which the IPS Board of School Commissioners will vote on in late October.  
  • Quick reminder: All committee meetings are open to the public. Missed a previous meeting? Watch recordings from any previous sessions online on the Rebuilding Stronger page. 

Meeting Materials & Videos