State to appeal court ruling on school takeover, funding

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The Indiana Department of Education intends to appeal a court ruling saying it incorrectly counted students as having attended five schools taken over by the state when those students instead transferred elsewhere.

On Dec. 21, a Marion County Superior Court judge ruled that the state counted about 1,500 students as being registered with four former Indianapolis Public Schools and another school in Gary.

Outgoing Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett advocated the takeover of the schools, a move that the State Board of Education approved in May. The schools had been on academic probation for six years in a row.

As a result of that decision, the private operators of the five takeover schools ended up receiving more money per student than other districts.

The schools in Indianapolis and Gary all lost students when the state decided to step in. The ruling effectively means that the operators of the takeover schools received millions of dollars in funding that they shouldn’t have. Instead, the money should have remained with IPS and the Gary Community School Corporation, the judge ruled.

If the IDOE goes through with plans to appeal, the Attorney General’s Office would have to file it.

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