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IPS Superintendent Challenges Indy Mayor’s Schools Takeover

short ridge high school

Photo: Indiana Public Media

Some public schools in Indiana will be run more like charter schools, if Mayor Greg Ballard of Indianapolis has his way.

Indianapolis mayor Greg Ballard announced early Wednesday he would petition the School Board to incorporate any IPS schools it takes over, giving the city some oversight. The move would mimic a charter school model. But Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Eugene White said he intends to petition the State Board of Education to keep them from taking control over seven schools in his district.

White said a state takeover would mean a “devastating loss” for IPS, and for the funding that the schools represent, adding that schools have made marked improvements since he took over as superintendent in 2005. White’s office reported that high school graduation rates have jumped from 48% to 60%.

“Six years ago, when I became superintendent, the big push was about high school graduation. Now if you look at high school graduation from six years ago to where IPS was for 2010, [versus] what we’re probably going to be for 2011, you’re going to be impressed with that.”

The high schools in question include Arlington, Broad Ripple, Emmerich Manual, Northwest and TC Howe, George Washington, and Emma Donnan Middle School. Most of these, White said, have made gains in recent years.

“We think that each of those separate schools is unique, with its own dynamics, and we think that, overall, the Superintendent and the Board of Education will understand what we’re attempting to do.”

White said he respects the mayor’s plan, but added that the charter school approach is not a silver bullet for everything that ails IPS. Despite his comments, though, reports show that schools have failed to meet minimum education standards over the past six years.


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