Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce proposes plan to help IPS erase $30M budget deficit

INDIANAPOLIS - The Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce says it can help Indianapolis Public Schools erase a $30 Million budget deficit and improve district performance.

The chamber unveiled the results of its task force study Monday in a 68-page report aimed at several Indy-area properties including the former Coca-Cola bottling plant that sits in the 5000 block of West 25th Street on the city's west side, the Ford Assembly building at 1325 E. Washington St., The Key Learning Community, a K-12 magnet school at 777 S. White River Parkway West Dr., the Cold Spring School at 3650 Cold Spring Rd., and the John Morton Finney Center for Educational Services, the administration  building for IPS.

While the 354,000 sq. ft. former Coke property is currently used for bus maintenance, the chamber report has recommended that IPS engage a real estate adviser to provide an independent opinion of its market-value.

IPS Board Member Caitlin Hannon said the recommendation has been on the table before.

"We all know it's valuable property. We definitely need to see what our options are. It seems silly to me. we have busses in such a key part of our city that we could be doing a lot of other things with. We'll need to see where we can put our buses at other places, what the space can be used for and how we might benefit as a district," Hannon said.

Chamber of Commerce President Michael Huber said IPS seemed to be moving in the right direction.

"If IPS can continue to adopt a mentality that we've got to right-size our facilities to reflect that number of students we have now, which is a fraction of students that they had 50 years ago, it will free up a lot of these possibilities that have significant value," Huber said.

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