Mayor Ballard wants Office of Innovation to oversee IPS turnaround schools

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PRESS RELEASE — Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard today announced that he has filed a petition with the Indiana State Board of Education to assume oversight of the four former Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) turnaround schools.  If approved by the Board at its February 6 meeting, the petition would transfer oversight of the turnaround school operators to the Mayor’s Office of Education Innovation.

“I am pleased to announce today that with the support of Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz and IPS Board President Diane Arnold, the City and State are ready to take this next step to improve these schools,” said Mayor Ballard. “The City is committed to working with all community stakeholders to provide high-quality educational options for Indianapolis families.”

Under Mayor Ballard’s petition, EdPower, operator of Arlington Community High School, and Charter Schools USA, operator of Emmerich Manual High School, TC Howe Community High School, and Emma Donnan Middle School, would report to Mayor Ballard’s Office of Education Innovation.

“This is the first important step toward IPS working alongside the City to provide our students with the educational opportunities they deserve,” said IPS Board President Arnold.

Day-to-day operations and academic decisions would remain in the hands of the school operators.  The Mayor’s Office would report progress to the State Board of Education and the community on a regular basis.

“School-based decisions are best made locally,” said Superintendent Ritz. “I look forward to working with the Mayor’s Office, the City-County Council, Indianapolis Public Schools, and the State Board of Education to review Mayor Ballard’s petition.”

Through funding from the Indiana Department of Education, the Mayor’s Office would hire a Director of Turnaround Schools to work exclusively with the four turnaround academies to ensure the schools meet their contractual obligations and make academic progress.  The transfer of this oversight would have no impact on the staff and students of these four schools.

“It is critically important that the community be involved as this process moves forward,” said City-County Council President Maggie Lewis.  “I am pleased that the Council’s Community Affairs Committee, under the direction of Council Vice President John Barth, will provide oversight and guidance.”

If the State Board of Education approves Mayor Ballard’s petition, the City will assume oversight at the conclusion of this academic year.  There would be no change in the flow of school funding from the State directly to the turnaround operators.

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