INDIANAPOLIS – A group of parents, teachers and community advocates affiliated with local education advocacy organization Stand for Children Indiana have sent a letter to IPS Superintendent Dr. Aleesia Johnson and the Board of Commissioners requesting that they delay any action on the $800 million referendum until key questions and concerns can be addressed.
The letter states three clear reasons for delaying the vote:
- The district’s strategic plan, which the referendum will fund, still ignores the board’s own goals around Black and Brown student achievement by growing school models that actually feature increasingly large opportunity gaps while leaving out plans to scale data-proven public school models like Paramount.
- Innovation schools in IPS will get significantly less money compared to traditional schools, despite being part of IPS and serving district students. The funding gap means non-innovation schools in IPS would receive approximately $1,650 more per student.
- The significant tax increase to fund the referendum could have a disproportionate impact on low-income families in IPS – the very communities the district is trying to serve. There needs to be more study on the economic impact the referendum will have on those struggling to make ends meet as inflation remains at historic levels.
The letter also makes clear that the parents, teachers and grandparents who signed want to get to a place of supporting the referendum, provided their concerns are addressed:
“We are supportive of investing in our public schools. We believe in IPS and we want nothing more than this district to become the best in our state when it comes to student achievement,” the letter reads. “Some of us actively supported the 2018 referenda as a part of local advocacy group Stand for Children Indiana, which was the single largest supporter of that initiative. We want to get to a place of supporting this plan too. Our request is simply to slow this process down to allow for the public to appropriately review the referenda proposal and to also allow time to address the concerns we’ve raised . . .”
Stand for Children Indiana is a unique catalyst for education equity and racial justice, to create a brighter future for us all.