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Broad Ripple community raises concerns in public comment session on school closures

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind- More than 100 community members filled the auditorium at Broad Ripple High School Tuesday night to share their concerns, questions and outcries about a proposal to close the school.

They were shared during a public comment session hosted by IPS after announcing a recommendation to close Arlington and Northwest High Schools, and sell Broad Ripple High School, to save the district millions of dollars each year.

"There's a saying that goes around that we all use, Broad Ripple for life, and that's how we feel, this is a family you're breaking apart really," one speaker told board members.

Parents, students, alumni and former teachers asked questions and raised concerns over preserving legacy, the plan to transition students, the quality of academics and any other options for growing enrollment.

"Sometimes what we hear confirms the direction that we know that we're already going but we haven't kind of put out those plans yet publicly," board president Mary Ann Sullivan said.

Sullivan said no decision is made yet, though.

"Nothing is a done deal and I think the board heard loud and clear tonight that people are concerned about legacy, I think that's a concern that we all share," she said.

The superintendent said insight is gained from each conversation.

"The status quo is not the best for our students and ultimately we have an obligation and responsibility to give them the very best," IPS superintendent Dr. Lewis Ferebee said.

While some community members were against closing Broad Ripple High School, others were accepting of the doors potentially shutting but wanted the building to keep an educational focus.

"We just feel it's a valuable community resource that needs to stay part of it and we feel our residents still need to have a public option for high school," former Broad Ripple Village Association president Kent Springer said.

Tuesday's meeting was the first in a series of public comment sessions.

Other public comment sessions include:

  • John Marshall Middle School, Thursday July 20 at 5:30 p.m.
  • Arlington Community High School, Tuesday August 29 at 6 p.m.
  • Northwest Community High School, Thursday August 31 at 6 p.m.

The board is not expected to take action on the recommendations until September.