Mayor Greg Ballard gets control of 4 Indianapolis turnaround schools

4 schools taken over by state

INDIANAPOLIS - Four Indianapolis schools taken over by the state will now be under Mayor Greg Ballard's control.

The State Board of Education on Wednesday unanimously approved Ballard's request to give his office authority over the four turnaround schools.

The state took over Indianapolis Public Schools' Arlington, Howe and Manual high schools, along with Emma Donnan Middle School, at the beginning of this school year.

"I thank State Superintendent (of Public Instruction Glenda) Ritz and the State Board of Education for their unanimous approval of my petition for oversight of these former IPS turnaround schools," Ballard said in a statement. "We now can move forward with working to improve these schools and collaborating with community stakeholders to offer high-quality education for students."

Jason Kloth, Ballard's deputy mayor of education, made the presentation to the board.

"The average student in a charter school makes 2 to 3 additional months of academic growth compared to their peers in traditional public schools. We hope we can replicate that in the turnaround schools themselves," Kloth said.

The vote to transfer oversight to the mayor was unopposed and turnaround operators were pleased.

"We are able to work within an entity that has been working with charter schools that had low-performing students coming in and turning them into high-performing schools. I think they have a good framework in place as well," said Jon Hage, Charter School USA President.

Even though the mayor will provide principal oversight, that doesn't mean the state board will have a hands-off policy.

"They will be doing regular reports to the State Board of Education. The SBE will have the ultimate authority on what to do with the exit strategy that might be taken at the end of those contracts," Ritz said.

The City-County Council has also approved seven charter schools over the next two years, all of which would be under the control of the mayor's office.

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