Indianas largest school district is fighting the state over $15 million earmarked for third-party groups planning to take over four failing schools.
Indianapolis Public Schools officials said property tax caps, shrinking enrollment and the pending loss of four schools has created a budget nightmare within the district.
IPS said the State Department of Education and Board of Education could widen the budget gap by reallocating $15 million to Indianapolis-based Ed Power and Florida-based Charter Schools USA.
IPS Superintendent Eugene White said he was concerned because both turnaround groups could get tuition dollars for students who may not stay at Arlington, Manual and Howe high schools and Emma Donnan Middle School.
"If you want to put all that money into takeover operators, give me the money and the freedom they are going to have, White said.
Lawmakers at the Statehouse said they plan to focus on the progress of the turnaround programs, RTV6's Rafael Sanchez
"We need to think more boldly and address the issues (the schools) have, said Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett.
The Indiana Department of Education issued a statement on Monday about the funding flap.
The State Board of Education voted to use the only funding mechanism available in statute to provide a funding stream for the turnaround academies. The actual funding levels provided to the (turnaround school operators) will be established in the contracts negotiated and signed between the TSOs and the state. Assumptions and comparisons regarding per-student funding are premature, said DOE spokesman Alex Damron.
IPS officials said they are considering filing a legal challenge. The TSOs are scheduled to take over the schools July 1.
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