In 2012 three schools, Emma Donnan Middle, TC Howe High, and Emmerich Manual High, were taken over after being deemed chronically failing under IPS’s rule. Friday, the groundwork was laid to return those schools to IPS.
Right now, the three schools are operated by Charter Schools USA under a state-mandated takeover. The contract to manage the schools is up in June of 2020. In order to continue running the schools, CSUSA had to obtain a proper charter.
Friday, the state-appointed, Indiana Charter School Board denied Charter Schools USA the charters to continue to operate the schools. The final vote was 3-4 for each charter. (Two board members were absent).
The reasoning behind the vote to decline varied but the general concerns raised included:
- Declining enrollment
- High numbers of students transitioning to be homeschooled
- Persistent F ratings (Howe)
- Teacher turnover
- Financial stability
Indianapolis Public Schools superintendent Aleesia Johnson cited many of the same reasons when she expressed her desire to end the partnership with CSUSA in advance of the vote:
The facts are that CSUSA’s tenure at Emma Donnan is littered with high staff turnover, declining enrollment and a proposed future governance structure that was not clearly communicated or understood even by members of that proposed future team.
It remains unclear what the future holds for the schools. Though that has yet to be decided, IPS plans to ask the board to place the schools back under their control. In which case, the most likely scenario is that other operators are found to run the schools under IPS Innovation Network model. CSUSA could potentially resubmit applications for charters from another authorizer.
Read more here. (WFYI)