Charter Pulse

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INDIANA: IPS ‘charter school’ bill nears final approval

ipsLegislation that would allow Indianapolis Public Schools to hire charter companies or independent management teams to run low-performing schools in the district was passed by the House earlier today and is expected to be approved by the Senate this afternoon. Afterward it would head to Gov. Mike Pence for approval.

Fourteen IPS schools, graded D or F for the past three years, are eligible under the bill to become so-called innovation network schools. IPS can contract companies to run these schools and share IPS resources, such as transportation and facilities. IPS would continue to receive state tuition support for students at these schools and the accountability grades of the schools.

The charter companies or management teams would hire teachers for the schools and set their own curriculum and schedule, such as extending class time to Saturdays.

House Bill 1321 passed 59-32.

The legislation has proven contentious for Lewis Ferebee, new IPS superintendent, as some Democrat lawmakers who represent the district vowed to defeat the bill over concerns it would lead to school privatization and loss of jobs for union teachers.

Yet Ferebee; bill author Rep. Bob Behning, R-Indianapolis; and the Indiana State Teachers Association compromised on some aspects of the bill. An original version prevented teachers at these schools from collective bargaining. That limit was struck down allowing teachers to decide whether they want to become part of a union.

Ferebee told lawmakers that the bill would help the district save money and better use resources. When the General Assembly began, IPS was believed to be facing a $30 million deficit. This week, Ferebee said the deficit does not exist and was instead manufactured by the flawed budgeting processes of past administrations.

“If Superintendent Ferebee had the budget information earlier, perhaps the discussions would have been different,” State Teachers Association posted on its website. “We continue to believe that our negotiations on HB 1321 were in good faith and we expect Dr. Ferebee’s implementation of it to be grounded in meaningful collaboration with the exclusive representative and ISTA.”

Three schools, including Anna Brochhausen School 88 and Arlington Woods Elementary School 99 that are operated under the Project: Restore program, retroactively become network schools under the bill.

Source: Indy Star – by Eric Weddle

View more articles on Indiana charter schools

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This entry was posted on March 13, 2014 by in Charter Schools, Indiana, States.

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