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Judge Rules State Must Repay IPS $6 Million

A Marion County judge has decided that the Indiana State Board of Education misappropriated several million dollars of funding to charter schools. The money was being withheld from Indianapolis Public Schools.

When private companies took over four Indianapolis Public Schools to become charters, the State Board of Education counted the number of kids enrolled in the takeover schools during the 2011-2012 academic year, the last year IPS was in charge.

When the charter schools took over this year, enrollment in those four schools dropped by almost 50-percent. However, according to a statement from IPS, the state gave the charter schools funding based on the previous year’s enrollment.

Furthermore, IPS charged, the money tied to the kids who transferred from a takeover school back to IPS did not follow the child; it stayed with the charter school.

A judge this week decided the state should have looked at this year’s enrollment when distributing funding to the schools, and ruled that more than $6 million must be returned to IPS.

Three of the four schools taken over are now operated by Charter Schools USA. Spokesperson Colleen Reynolds says while she doesn’t know if or how the state will recoup the money, it does not plan to change its model.

“We are going to provide the educational services and the caring environment that we’ve established so far,” she says. “We’re going to continue what we’ve been doing.”

The Department of Education says it is currently reviewing the ruling to determine next steps.

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