Special Taskforce Discusses Need to Close Three IPS High Schools
April 21, 2017
For the first time since releasing its report, the IPS Facilities Utilization Taskforce publicly discussed its recommendation to close three IPS high schools, and the findings it used to make that decision.
On Tuesday, April 18, Taskforce members answered questions from the community and the Indianapolis Public Schools Board of School Commissioners. IPS Operations Officer David Rosenberg reminded the public of the district’s cost-cutting measures in recent years, which has resulted in the district saving $22 million.
Rosenberg explained the Taskforce’s process for researching and analyzing several factors, including historical and enrollment data and demographic trends. The Taskforce also considered academics, building capacity, utility and transportation costs.
Historical data proves why there is a dire need to close some high schools:
- 1967: 109,000 students enrolled (26,000 high school students)
- 11 high schools (2,373 students per building)
- Today: 30,000 students enrolled (5,342 high school students)
- Seven high schools (763 students per building)
Collectively, IPS high schools are currently two-thirds empty. To better utilize space, the Taskforce recommends IPS operate four (yet to be named) high schools for the 2018-2019 school year. The district understands this would be a bold move, but it will allow for the reinvestment of $4 million to continue to support academic programs, teacher compensation and support services for students.
During the meeting, public concern was shared about what will happen to the buildings that are closed. IPS officials assured the community that the district will develop a reuse plan for each school that is recommended for closing.
The process for making a decision will not be quick. A careful timeline was planned to include plenty of community engagement:
- April through May 2017: The Board will hold four public neighborhood meetings to gather input, concern and feedback.
- June 2017: The administration will consider the feedback and make recommendations on which schools to close, a reuse plan for those buildings, and academic programming at the schools that remain open.
- July through August 2017: Commissioners will hold their regularly scheduled Board meetings at each high school recommended for closure to gather additional public comment.
- September 18, 2017: The Board will vote on which schools to close, a reuse plan for those buildings, and academic programming at the schools that remain open.
There will be no impact on current academic or Choice/Magnet models as a result of high school closures and no personnel decisions will be considered prior to the Board vote on which schools will close.
For more information on the Facilities Utilization Taskforce Report and the list of the community meetings, visit www.myips.org.