Indianapolis Public Schools to absorb high-performing charter schools

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.- After several months of debate, the IPS School Board voted Thursday evening to admit Riverside High School and Herron High School as Innovation charter schools.

The two facilities are currently independent charter schools. Under the agreement for partnership, the schools will remain operated independently but will gain access to IPS resources.

Several parents spoke in favor of the opportunity before the board voted, including Kathy Maher, who has a child that attended Herron.

“I have been, at times, a skeptic of the charter schools,” said Maher, “but now I am encouraged and optimistic of the future of IPS because of the Innovation charter schools.”

Other parents raised concern for the move, given that IPS will soon close three of its traditional high schools to save money. The district has not yet decided which schools will close.

IPS officials say because Herron and Riverside will still be run independently, with state funds funneled through IPS, the two additions will not any any financial responsibilities to the IPS books.

“Those facilities are not district-owned facilities, the district is not taking on any additional burden for the operation of those facilities,” said IPS Innovation Officer Alessia Johnson, “so this is really about adding programming opportunities for our students and families to take advantage of.” 

As part of the agreement, IPS mandated that Herron and Riverside follow IPS enrollment guidelines and time tables, which the schools agreed to. Each school will now be open for any IPS student to attend; however, admission preference will be given to students who live in the area around each school.

One issue that is yet to be discussed is that of transportation. Despite being part of IPS, families attending Riverside and Herron will still have to provide their own rides to school, as IPS will not be offering daily bus service.

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