Public weighs in on proposal to close three IPS high schools

On April 18, 2017, the public had a chance to weigh in on a recent task force report that recommends the district close three high school buildings. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Major changes could be on the way for Indianapolis Public Schools as the district looks to cut costs.

On Tuesday, the public had a chance to weigh in on a recent task force report that recommends the district close three high school buildings. It is a move that would save IPS at least $4 million per year.

The task force report recommends closing those three high school buildings starting in the 2018-2019 school year.

The closure recommendations come as the district looks at a loss of about 79,000 students over the past 10 years. The high school buildings are now at a 37 percent utilization rate.

“I would be very shocked if there are not some high schools that are closed,” said Mary Ann Sullivan, president of the Indianapolis Public School Board.

Some people at the meeting on Tuesday expressed concerns about closing schools.

“What message are we sending to our youth if we close their schools? We are telling them that it is not important if they go to school,” said Adrianne Opp, Indianapolis resident.

Opp lives near George Washington High School. According to the task force, only 21 percent of that building is being used. She fears closing that school or others would lead to students dropping out of school.

“We are not setting our students up to be successful and have a location or new home to go to with this closure other than bussing across the city,” said Opp.

Other parents echoed those thoughts.

“You are going to get more drop-outs. Where do you think these kids are going to go? Some of them don’t have the means, some don’t have the support, none of that. So, what are we going to do?” said Wilma Hughes-Sabatino, an IPS parent.

A recommendation as to which high schools could close is still in the works. The school board president says a number of things will be taken into account.

“The condition of the building, the type of programming that the administration will recommend, type of programming people want and are looking for, transportation considerations,” said Sullivan.

She said IPS will still offer the same programs and there will be no layoffs.

“The great teachers that those students love at their school are still going to be there. The programs that they are attracted to and that they are worried about losing are not going anywhere,” said Sullivan.

There will be several chances for you to voice your opinion in upcoming meetings. Board leaders say early participation from the public is crucial. The task force will take community input into consideration and use that when they make their final recommendations to the board regarding which schools to close.

A vote from the board is expected in September.

IPS Public Meetings to discuss school closures:

  • April 26, 2017 6:00 p.m. Glendale Library
    6101 N. Keystone Ave.
    Indianapolis, Ind. 46222
  • May 1, 2017 6:00 p.m. Ivy Tech Culinary Center
    2820 N. Meridian Street
    Indianapolis, Ind. 46208
  • May 11, 2017 6:00 p.m. Zion Hope Baptist Church
    5950 E 46th St.
    Indianapolis, Ind. 46226
  • May 15, 2017 6:00 p.m. Haughville Library
    2121 W. Michigan St.
    Indianapolis, Ind. 46222

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