IPS holds final community meeting about potential high school closures

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Indianapolis Public Schools leaders are holding the final meeting about potential high school closures Thursday night. The fifth meeting was added after strong turnout to the originally scheduled events.

The district is considering closing some high schools due to low enrollment. In the last 53 years, IPS has lost nearly 20,000 high school students. A task force recommended the district close three of its seven high schools in order to be more efficient.

The task force estimates this would save the district $4 million per year.

According to the report, the district is losing students to charter and private schools. Many families are also moving to neighboring counties once their children reach school age.

"Our resources are stretched very thin over a lot of schools," said Mary Ann Sullivan, president of the IPS board of commissioners.

District leaders say reducing the number of schools will allow IPS to offer more resources at the high school level.

"It's difficult because it’s a tough decision but it’s also one that comes with a big upside because it means we are going to have to a much stronger high school program for kids," Sullivan said.

But, parents have been outspoken at the last four community meetings about any closures at the last four meetings.

Some teachers are also concerned about how closing down a school may impact at-risk kids.

“They’re concerned about, you know, students and how many may drop out and say 'I’m not going to go to a new school,'" said Rhondalyn Cornett, president of the Indianapolis Education Association.

Plus, there are worries that closing neighborhood high schools could have a negative effect on students' sense of belonging.

"Now you’re going to have to switch school but you don’t have that sense of community," Cornett said. "We know this is really going to affect our city. There’s some decisions that have to be made. Everybody is not going to be satisfied.”

IPS administrators will recommend which high schools to close next month. Commissioners will vote on the issue this fall.

If you could not make it to a meeting, you can provide feedback online here.

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