This is actually the third or fourth time Indy mayor Greg Ballard has said he wants to control the four Indianapolis schools slated for state takeover. The difference this time? It’s election season. Ballard released a plan which calls for the Indiana State General Assembly to pass a law which would allow the city to politely ask the Indiana Department of Education to handover oversight of the “failing” schools.
Actually, there maybe some meat to the mayor’s plan. Currently, there isn’t anything preventing the city of Indianapolis from asking for control of these schools. However, there is no law formally regulating the petition process, nor is there a system in place for transferring the schools. Putting these obstacles on sound legal footing would strengthen the case for city administration.
But how open is the IDOE to idea of handing over control? The state plans to sign contracts which will firmly place the schools under Department of Education oversight for the next five years. From the beginning, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett has sounded skeptical of the idea of handing those schools over to the mayor’s office, calling it one several options being considered by his department.
Ballard’s opponent in the upcoming mayoral race, Democrat Melina Kennedy, has been surprisingly silent on the subject of the school takeover. She has several times leveraged Indianapolis’s “failing” schools as a means of attacking Ballard’s education record, but she has not issued any plan of her own. Rather, she has focused her education agenda on raising money to support early reading, crime prevention and adult education programs.