IPS Board votes to expand pre-school and free lunch program

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH)  -The Indianapolis Public School board met Tuesday night to vote on expand pre-school to 13 more schools.

The expansion will start at the beginning of the 2014 school year. IPS already had 11 schools that offered pre-kindergarten.

The new schools that will now offer pre-kindergarten in IPS are:

  • William A. Bell Elementary (#60)
  • Charity Dye Elementary  (#327)
  • Washington Irving Elementary (#14)
  • Thomas D. Gregg Elementary (#15)
  • Eleanor Skillen Elementary (#34)
  • Elder W. Diggs Elementary (#42)
  • Riverside Elementary (#44)
  • Louis B. Russell Elementary (#48)
  • Wendell Phillips Elementary (#63)
  • Anna Brochhausen Elementary (#88 )
  • Ernie Pyle Elementary (#90)
  • Paul I. Miller Elementary (#114)
  • Stephen Foster Elementary (#367)

The schools that are adding pre-k are fanned out across the district. The plan to offer free full day pre-kindergarten is not new, but in the past budget concerns had restricted the district.

At the meeting Tuesday night, the board voted unanimously to expand pre-k. It’s an expense that Dr. Ferebee says the district can handle. For parents like Amirh Burns, who has 4 children, including a 2 and 4-year-old, the fact that IPS is making pre-k more accessible to more students means a lot. She’s seen the benefits with her own children.

“(They learn) how to work well with others, how to brainstorm,” said Burns. “They do a lot of great things in her (daughter Maya’s) class, and she’s very open, her teacher considers her to be a leader in her class and I was very excited about that, that she’s very confident in that area being so young.”

The IPS board also approved universal free breakfast and lunch across the entire district. That means all students in IPS can eat breakfast and lunch for free beginning next school year.

It’s thanks to a provision effective this fall for school districts in Indiana, that allows for a “Community Eligibility Provision” (CEP). The CEP means that in high poverty areas, districts can count and claim student meals differently than they would in an area where there is a lower concentration of students that need assistance.

IPS also decided on it’s calendar Tuesday night. Students first full day of school is August 4th. The last day of school will be June 9, 2015.


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