Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Parents Keeping Options Open As Project School Hearing Moves To Federal Court

    Julie Rawe / Reporting for StateImpact Indiana

    Families mill around the table for The Indianapolis Project School at an enrollment fair Thursday night, July 27. The office enrollment fair was initially set up to help families find new schools where they can enroll their students after The Project School's charter was revoked. A legal battle, though, has delayed the school's closure, so the school participated in the enrollment fair.

    We’ve been following the debate over the fate of a charter school in Indianapolis that highlights a difficulty in meshing school choice and accountability statewide. The latest in the case from Indiana Public Media:

    Leaders of Indianapolis’ Project School Board of Directors say the school‘s case against the city has been moved to Federal Court.

    School Board President Daniel Baron says the Marion County Superior Court hearing set for Monday is now off the docket after a Marion County judge issued a temporary restraining order this week against Mayor Greg Ballard‘s move revoking the school‘s charter and the mayor’s office requested the change of venue… 

    Baron adds the move to federal court means the school remains in limbo. No word yet on when the case will be heard in federal court.

    “Of course, there is a due process claim and that’s a constitutional issue. The real problem for us is it slows the process down,” Project School board president Daniel Baron told StateImpact Friday. “We were going to have a hearing Monday in superior court. That has been changed to the federal courts. Every day hurts as we move closer and closer to school.”

    StateImpact sent reporter Julie Rawe to the fair and she wrote this account of the enrollment fair:

    A dozen parents from The Indianapolis Project School and their kids stood outside an enrollment fair Thursday evening holding handmade signs reading “We Choose TPS.”

    Some parents told me they wouldn’t be going anywhere near the charter school enrollment information tables at the event. Others told me that they might, but only to take a look.

    But the reality is that some parents were feeling like they had to check out those enrollment tables, not because they want their kids to leave The Project School but because they’re afraid the school they’re trying to save won’t be open when their kids go back to school. Parents were taking a look at those other options, sometimes half-heartedly, and some of those parents say they put their kids names down at other school just in case.

    Some of the charter school representatives say they don’t have many spots open for new students, but they’re willing to open their doors to Project School kids because they realize parents are stuck in a tricky situation. And some say, even if they don’t have space in a particular grade, they’ll go to bat for kids from The Project School if they find themselves without a school.

    Baron told StateImpact that parents of 220 students have signed a letter stating their intent to enroll. He says the school is proceeding as though they’ll be allowed to open as planned Aug. 6.


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