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Commissioners Review Potential Innovation Partnership with Herron High School

March 17, 2017


At the March 16, 2017, Board Action Session, the Indianapolis Public Schools Board of School Commissioners voted on several key initiatives impacting the 2017-2018 school year.


Adoption of SY 2017-2018 Budget

Chief Financial Manager Weston Young presented the proposed 2017-2018 School Year Budget for adoption.

ACTION: Passed 7-0



Our philosophies around budget development:

  • Aligned with the Board’s Core Commitments and Beliefs and IPS Strategic Plan
  • Redirecting more resources to schools and budgeting for 100 percent staffing
  • Be transparent and communicate in plain language to justify the need for increased funding


What You Should Know:

1.      While enrollment has been comparable over the last six years, the district has seen sharp declines in per-pupil funding, disproving the idea that the funding drop is a result of enrollment.
Graph showing decline of funding

2.       Since SY 2013-14, IPS has reduced central office overhead through reorganization and automation, broken a five-year freeze on teacher pay raises, and generated revenue through the sale and lease of underutilized property.

3.       IPS continues to proactively address funding challenges without diminishing classroom instruction; however, these are not long-term solutions. Additional funding is needed to ensure all students have access to a high-quality education.
Enrollment decline

4.                      4.   Over the next four years, it is estimated that current fund balances will drop by nearly $90 million. Reasons include:

a.      Spending on SPED and English Language Learning/Teacher Compensation

Strategic plan initiatives are being implemented with fidelity, including increasing teacher compensation and maintaining levels of staffing to adequately support academic programming. Significant funding is allocated to support unfunded federal mandates such as Special Education and English Language Learning (ELL).

b.      A one-time adjustment by the state to spend down the cash balance. 

The adjustment requires districts to spend down the Debt Service balance prior to receiving increased tax dollars.

c.       Improve cafeteria facilities, services and food

IPS had a surplus in the School Lunch fund that had to be spent. Funding was used to renovate cafeteria facilities, buy new and better lunch trays and eating utensils, equip two food trucks and improve the quality of the food served.Fund balances


Authorization to Appeal Incorrect Advertisement of Property Tax Rate or Levy

Chief Financial Manager Weston Young also presented a resolution for Board approval to appeal the advertised IPS property tax or levy.

ACTION: Passed 7-0


What You Should Know:

1.      During the budget hearing process, the IPS advertised property tax rate and levy can, for various reasons, be reduced from what was approved by the Board of School Commissioners.

2.      In order to provide IPS staff the option to appeal these changes on behalf of the Board, it is necessary that the Board have on file with the Department of Local Government Finance a resolution requesting a review of the property tax rate and levy if such a review is required.

3.      Such a resolution simply gives the Board the right to officially protest the action that caused the property tax rate and levy to be reduced.

4.      Having such an appeal already authorized will eliminate the need to call a special meeting of the Board to comply with time constraints of Indiana Code 6-1.1-17-15 (Action is required within 10 days following the official publication of the reduced property tax rate and levy).


Innovation Agreements

According to IPS Strategic Plan Goal 1.1.2, IPS will expand Innovation Network Schools to provide a wider range of Choice options for families.

During the Action Section, Innovation Officer Aleesia Johnson presented a proposal for approval to transition Thomas D. Gregg School 15 to Innovation status, to restart Elder Diggs School 42 as Ignite Achievement Academy, and to charter Avondale Meadows Middle School.


·         Avondale Meadows Innovation Partnership: Passed 7-0;

·         Thomas D. Gregg School 15 Innovation Conversion: Passed 7-0;

·         Elder Diggs School 42 Innovation Restart: Passed 6-0, 1 abstained;


Special Education Residency Program with Purdue University

Mindy Schlegel, Human Resources officer; Taylor Brown, director of Talent Strategy; and Ashley Cowger, director of Special Education, presented a Memorandum of Understanding outlining a Special Education Residency Program partnership with Purdue University.

ACTION: Passed 7-0


According to IPS Strategic Plan Goal 2.5, IPS will increase and improve employee recruitment efforts by 100 percent, based upon a review of industry standards and district best practices.

  • IPS is feeling the impact of a statewide teacher shortage, so it is imperative that we bolster our efforts to ensure we have strong educators in our classrooms on Day One.
  • IPS teacher recruitment priority areas include conducting regular data analysis, increasing online presence, expanding candidate engagement opportunities, and differentiating marketing and application materials to improve candidate experiences.

What You Should Know:

1.      IPS Talent and Special Education teams have designed a partnership with Purdue University’s online MSEd in Special Education program to meet current special education staffing needs and develop a pipeline of future special educators.

2.      Purdue University will provide recruitment expertise and IPS and Purdue will engage in a joint selection of cohort participants.

3.      Purdue students will serve in Special Education Instructional Assistant positions and engage in additional district professional development under the supervision of a special education teacher leader while completing coursework online.

4.      Upon graduation, individuals will be licensed in mild and intense intervention and eligible to be considered for special education teaching positions.


Anthem Health Insurance Letter of Agreement

IPS voted to approve a Letter of Agreement with Anthem Insurance.

ACTION: Passed 7-0


 What You Should Know:

1.      IPS selected a new insurance provider to improve health benefits for employees

2.      That transition focused on improving employee health

3.      IPS is committed to cover any premium increases for employees under the new plan


Herron High School and Riverside High School Conversion Proposal

Innovation Officer Aleesia Johnson and Herron High School President and Head of School, Janet H. McNeal, presented a proposal to transition Herron High School and the soon-to-be launched Riverside High School to innovation status.

ACTION: The Board voted unanimously agreed to enter into talks with Herron High School to discuss the possibility of forming an Innovation partnership with Herron and Riverside high schools.



High School Closing Timeline and Process

IPS has approved a timeline for community engagement and decision-making on potential high school closings.

ACTION: Passed 7-0



What You Should Know:

1.       IPS has created a Facilities Utilization Task Force to study the underutilization of high schools.

2.      The Board of School Commissioners will have at least eight opportunities to gain feedback at public meetings.