Parents to IPS: Referendum should be shelved until major inequities are addressed


January 18, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS – Parent advocates affiliated with Stand for Children Indiana (Stand Indiana) asked the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) board last night to continue delaying the proposed operating referendum until a plan to equitably share funding is presented.

The current proposal being considered by the IPS Board of Commissioners would give nearly double the funding from the referendum to direct-run IPS schools, leaving innovation schools in IPS with significantly less money. Innovation schools are IPS schools operated by non-profit partners. These schools serve a higher percentage of Black and Brown students, as well as a higher ratio of children from low-income backgrounds compared to IPS direct-run schools.

“The fact is more students of color attend our innovation and charter schools. But IPS’s plan would send nearly $1,000 less per child to innovation schools,” said IPS dad Dontia Dyson. “As a parent – and taxpayer – how can I support a plan that means my child might not benefit as much depending on the school they attend? How can I be expected to pay for a plan that picks winners and losers among our kids?”

Parent advocate LaToya Tahirou told the board that her experience as childcare provider provides a perspective that the board should consider when making its decision.

“[Being a childcare provider] has allowed me to love and care for kids who may not share my blood, but are still part of my family – part of my community,” Tahirou said. “When they are in my care, I would do whatever is needed to keep a child safe and [to support them] . . . Because every child is worthy of love and deserves our collective effort to ensure they have every opportunity to succeed.”

Tahirou continued, “We need a plan for this operating referendum that is founded on this core value: All children in our community are part of the IPS family, worthy of our love and our resources. Right now, the plan for this referendum picks winners and losers among our young people – all because of a label we place on the building they enter. This is not moral. And it’s not right.”

Stand for Children sent a letter to the IPS board in December signed by several parents, teachers and stakeholders asking for the board to hold off on any vote until all schools received an equitable share of the referendum proceeds. To date, the IPS plan still leaves a more than $900 gap per child between innovation schools and traditional schools. That gap equates to millions of dollars in additional money being sent to certain schools in IPS, while others are left to operate with less resources.


About Stand: Stand for Children Indiana is a unique catalyst for education equity and racial justice, to create a brighter future for us all.