Indiana

Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

The Numbers Are In: How Many Students At Indianapolis Takeover Schools Will Remain In The District

Manual High School in Indianapolis is one of five Indiana schools the state will take over next year.

43 percent of students currently enrolled in the four Indianapolis Public Schools slated for state takeover will transfer to another district school next year, district officials tell StateImpact.

IPS Director of Student Assignment Richard Grismore says the district sent paperwork to the homes of 3,170 students affected by the takeovers.

The forms spelled out students’ options — stay in their current schools, which are coming under new management, or transfer to another IPS School — and required respondents to make, more or less, a final decision about where kids will go next year.

More than 1,300 students didn’t even turn in their decisions, which effectively means they will remain enrolled in the schools post-takeover. If parents wish to transfer their students later, it will require additional paperwork.

But Grismore points out the 1,800 respondents favored staying in IPS by a three-to-one margin.

“The fact that we got 60 percent of those forms back is a real good indication that folks are looking at the programs and interested in making the decision, not just complacent,” Grismore says.

Grismore says it’s typical for some district parents to “put off decisions until the last minute.”

“The difficulty is in making them understand that the choice was going to be made for them if they didn’t participate,” Grismore adds.

440 respondents said they would remain at Emma Donnan Middle School and T.C. Howe, Arlington, and Manual High Schools, even after the private school management companies take over the schools on the state’s behalf next year.

IPS superintendent Eugene White has said he wants the district to compete with the takeover schools to enroll students, and has moved some unique programs to other district buildings in an effort to retain the students the district currently enrolls.

As we’ve reported, their public relations push to retain as many students as possible has rubbed some parents the wrong way.

Grismore acknowledges that, given the transient nature of families in IPS, the numbers the district gave StateImpact today may not be completely accurate by next year.

“It’s going to be very difficult to pin down a number that you would do staffing [levels] on until the beginning of school, probably, because folks will not make those choices until it’s in their face,” Grismore says. “That could be at the beginning of school or two or three weeks into school, once they find out the choice that was made for them is not a good fit for them, then they start moving schools”

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