INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A day after a speech on a plan to change Indianapolis public schools, the superintendent said the district board wants input.
Aleesia Johnson on Tuesday unveiled what is called the Build Back Stronger plan. If finalized in November, the plan would bring changes including reducing the number of small schools and poor facilities, and reconfiguring facilities in kindergarten-5th grades and middle schools in grades 6-8.
Before Tuesday, parents had already discussed what the plan would mean for students and families when it takes effect after the 2022-2023 school year.
On Wednesday, Johnson said she was confident in the plan.
The closings would take place at the Francis Bellamy Pre-K Center and Step Ahead Program, 9501 E. 36th Place; George Buck School 94, 2701 N. Devon Ave.; Floro Torrence School 83: 5050 42nd St., and Raymond F Brandes Elementary School, 4065 Asbury St.
These schools would close and merge with other schools: Frances Parker School 56, 2353 Columbia Ave.; the Center for Inquiry-Benjamin Harrison School 2, 725 N. New Jersey St.; and Paul I. Miller School 114, 2251 Sloan Ave.
The school’s changing sign outside Floro Torrence reads: “IPS Rebuilding Stronger | Parent meeting | September 14 at 6 p.m.
Mother Aleanya Moore told News 8: “I know there is a lot of frustration. There is a lot of uncertainty. There is a lot of confusion. As parents, I am a parent myself, you make sacrifices to do the things you want to do.
Moore says some disconnects exist between the district and the parents. As they chat, she encourages the district manager to get more involved and proactively participate.
After checking out parts of the proposal itself, she says, she can see where the district is coming from with her vision. Nonetheless, she would like the school board to have more opportunities to reach out to parents who may have more difficulty communicating their wants and needs for their children.
“I think there’s not a lot of ‘meeting with parents’ where they are although they are decision makers. They are the ones who make these important decisions for families. Find out creative ways to engage these parents and get their input,” Moore said.
The superintendent said Wednesday that over the next 6-8 weeks district leaders will have open meetings to engage in conversations for feedback.
What’s in the plan
The comprehensive plan outlines the district’s journey over five years.
It would reconfigure classrooms into a Kindergarten – Grade 5 and Grade 6-8 system for the 2024-2025 school year.
Enrollment areas would be categorized into four zones to give families more options to choose where their children go to school rather than forcing them to attend a neighborhood school.
With renovations and upgrades to many buildings, the overall goal is to provide more programs and opportunities for all IPS students.
Johnson said, “We have to make tough decisions to align our resources in a different way.”
With teachers and staff also impacted by what would be consolidations in the coming school year, Johnson says, the district’s retention plan amid a teacher shortage would be to give staff $10,000. hit. Directors affected would receive $12,000. Principals of permanently closing schools would receive $20,000.
A survey was sent to educators on Wednesday to give their thoughts on what would happen after the school year.
“Their preferences, their current license area, if there’s a geographic part of the district they would be interested in,” Johnson said.
The board will make a final decision on the plan in November.