Home Career What you should know about the Rebuilding Stronger plan for IPS

What you should know about the Rebuilding Stronger plan for IPS

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The Indianapolis Public Schools Board of Trustees is set to take Rebuilding Stronger, a sweeping district reorganization proposal, up for a vote Thursday.

The overall proposal would close six schools and restructure grades at dozens of others across the district in an effort to increase enrollment, stabilize finances and provide more educational opportunities for students of color.

Read the initial rollout of the plan hereand keep an eye out for stories about its potential impact and how lPS leaders have revised it in our stories below.

District makes late changes to Rebuilding Stronger

Officials announced three main changes on the proposal since district officials first introduced it in September.

In October, the district said it would not close the Research Center at School 2 and force it to merge with Urban Act Academy, an innovative charter school tasked with transforming Washington Irving School 14.

(Officials also said they plan to not to renew the district development agreement with the Urban Act, citing poor academic performance. A new agreement with the Near Eastside Innovation School Corporation will come up for a school board vote in early 2023, officials said Tuesday.)

In another revision of the original plan in October, officials said the district would not demolish Francis Parker Montessori School 56, which in the original version of Rebuilding Stronger was to be converted into the new Sidener Academy High School for gifted students. . Instead, the county said it will work with the community to figure out the best future uses for the site.

However, students at School 56 will still move from their building to James Russell Lowell School 51.

Officials also said this week that they would not bring it charter school Global Prep to Harshman Middle School to work there with a bilingual program. Instead, Harshman would run both double tongue and high capacity tracks.

The new taxes are aimed at funding Rebuilding Stronger

Plan requires IPS to ask voters for $810 million in new taxes through two ballot questions: one for about $410 million in capital projects and the other for about $50 million in operating costs annually over eight years.

The property tax increase would mean a $6 monthly increase for a resident whose home is assessed at $138,500, the median home value in the area.

In proposing the new taxes, IPS officials noted that the district has made good on its promise to raise teacher pay since the last vote approved a tax increase for this purpose in 2018. Since then, the average teacher salary has risen from $58,133 to $74,826, according to the district.

IPS eyes scholarships for staff maintenance

Staffing in schools that would be closed or merged with others is still available unsure of his future at IPS.

The district emphasized that this plan will not leave any employees without a job. That pledge does not extend to staff at the two innovative independent schools, whose partnerships with the district will not be renewed at the end of this school year.

The district estimates 119 employees will be affected by the school closures and is offering those employees a $10,000 stipend.

As part of Rebuilding Stronger, IPS is also offering a retention bonus of $12,000 to principals affected by school consolidation or classroom reconfiguration and $20,000 to principals of schools slated for closure.

The principal selection process for the two schools that will reopen to students, Broad Ripple and Howe Middle Schools, will begin in January 2023, the district announced Tuesday.

Schools transitioning to a new type of academic program, such as the International Baccalaureate, will receive an additional administrator in the 2023-24 school year to help prepare the school for the change.

Rebuilding Stronger’s impact on equity divides opinion

The plan aims to address existing inequalities in education, but it has also sparked opposition from parents who say his influence will be unfair.

The plan is to expand some specialized programs, including Montessori, IB courses and bilingual programs. Currently, only students who live within certain boundaries can access these programs.

Supporters of the plan say that by closing and consolidating underperforming schools, Rebuilding Stronger will allow the district to operate more efficiently. Officials also say the plan will reduce the number of transfer students by adopting four large enrollment zones to give students more options.

Officials also say all high school students will have access to Algebra I, world language courses, marching band and marching band.

But parents at schools that are closing are asking why their children are moving. And other parents who are part of pro-charter school groups argue that expanding IB or Montessori programs won’t produce the best results for students of color. Instead, those parents pushed for the district to partner with the Paramount charter school chain.

The county said Tuesday it is exploring possible future partnerships with Paramount.

Amelia Pack-Harvey covers Indianapolis and Marion County schools for Chalkbeat Indiana. Contact Amelia at apak-harvey@chalkbeat.org.

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