The Indiana Board of Education voted Monday in favor of the first state takeover of troubled public schools in Indiana.
The board overwhelmingly approved the takeover of Indianapolis Public Schools' Arlington, Manual and Howe high schools and Emma Donnan Middle School, along with Roosevelt High School in Gary.
The board spent much of the day Monday voting on proposals from Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett that the state assume control of the troubled schools after years of low test scores.
Today, the Indiana State Board of Education took a clear and strong stand in favor of Indianapolis and Gary students, but this is just the beginning. Implementing these interventions is now the departments top priority," Bennett said in a news release. From this point forward, community engagement will be vitally important to the success of all turnaround efforts. All stakeholders must remain committed to providing these children the quality educational opportunities they deserve.
School management companies will evaluate the schools for a year and run them starting with the 2012-13 academic year.
Charter Schools USA, a charter school management company based in Florida, will take responsibility for Manual, Howe and Emma Donnan.
"Our goal is not to be here in five years talking about what we didn't do, but we hope to be here in 20 years talking about what a lasting improvement it has been," said company Vice President Richard Page.
Arlington will be managed by Indianapolis-based EdPower.
"We're going to make sure every kid can read, write and do mathematics effectively," said Marcus Robinson, chancellor and CEO of EdPower. "We know that some kids can't survive on a nine-month school year. They need 12 months to really get what they need to be successful."
While his group will focus on academics, Robinson said he will partner with 46 community groups to help turn the school around.
"In five years, our hope is that Arlington Community High School rejoins Indianapolis Public Schools as its flagship, marquee high school," he said.
The groups will operate under the the supervision of the Indiana Department of Education.
"We will not be changing the names of any high schools. We will not be changing the rich traditions of any high schools or middle schools," Bennett said. "We are changing the way the schools operate."
IPS officials have threatened to sue to stop the takeovers of Arlington and Howe high schools.
"Right now, we're in the frame of mind that we will pursue some kind of legal action," said Superintendent Eugene White. "They made the 3 percent improvement they needed to do at the high school level to get there and they're not getting any justice on that. Yeah, I'm not pleased. It's disappointing."
Two other IPS schools that had been recommended for takeover -- Broad Ripple and George Washington high schools -- would instead get technical assistance and lead partners, who will work with school district leaders to implement improvements.
All six IPS schools had been in their sixth year of academic probation.
Bennett and other IDOE representatives will hold individual community meetings to discuss the turnaround efforts at each school.
The first two will be held Tuesday -- the first at Broad Ripple United Methodist Church to discuss the future of Broad Ripple High School and the second at the Washington Park Family Center to talk about Arlington Community High School.
School Turnaround Meetings
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