INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis Public Schools Board voted Monday evening in favor of a restructuring proposal to close Broad Ripple High School and turn Arlington and Northwest high schools into middle schools.
“Every action of this board supports this vision for the future: empowered schools, well-prepared students, equity, choice, and stewardship,” said Board President Mary Ann Sullivan in a news release issued after the vote. “We are committed to building a sustainable and continuously improving district.”
There were strong opinions on both sides of the debate. Some parents said they knew the district had to do something to cut costs, and they think four career-focused high schools could be beneficial for students.
“She has a high school of her own choice to go to. At that time she will be able to choose the girl’s she want to go into to be better educated and ready for college, a lot more than she would be currently,” said Anna Chaney about her 8-year-old daughter.
Others say having only four schools will make it tougher for some kids to get to class.
“I think location is more important. To have four schools that are going to be in the core of the city it means there is no investment on the west side or east side. It hurts families, it hurts communities, it hurts neighborhoods not to have those schools in those locations,” said Tim Bass.
“Every action of this board supports this vision for the future: empowered schools, well-prepared students, equity, choice, and stewardship,” said board president Mary Ann Sullivan in a news release issued after the vote. “We are committed to building a sustainable and continuously improving district.
About 20 protesters had lined up outside IPS headquarters before Monday’s vote, hoisting signs and chanting “stop the rush to close our schools.”
“We’ve had so much time to really think about this, to go to the superintendent and get follow up questions answered,” Sullivan said Monday morning. “I think board members feel ready to make a choice.”
According to IPS, fewer than 6,000 students attend the district’s seven high schools. The superintendent announced a plan in June to operate just four high schools starting in the 2018-2019 school year.
IPS said the plan would save $7 million dollars every year. The district plans to pour that money back into the remaining schools.
IPS hosted public meetings at each of the affected schools. Sullivan said the public’s feedback will be help shape IPS’ plan.
James Turner, a Broad Ripple High School graduate and father to a sophomore at the school, said he felt he didn’t have a voice in the process.
“I feel the public meetings were a sham,” Turner said. “I felt like they already had their mind made up of what they were going to do. Those were just publicity stunts to make it look like they really cared about the community’s input.”
IPS said any potential personnel changes would be decided after the vote.
These changes are set to go into effect for the 2018-2019 school year. Transition teams will soon begin working with students and staff.