State Board of Education returns control of 3 charter schools to IPS

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Indianapolis Public Schools will regain control of three charter schools.

During a session Wednesday, the Indiana State Board of Education voted to return Emma Donnan Middle School, Emmerich Manual High School and T.C. Howe Community High School to IPS control.

The vote was 6-2.

IPS had proposed closing Howe Community High School, turning Manual High School over to the Christel House Academy and inviting two charter school providers to run Emma Donnan School.

“IPS is committed to an efficient enrollment process for Howe students as they begin choosing other existing IPS-managed or Innovation Network schools to attend for the next school year; a smooth transition for Manual students with Christel House Academy; and a thoughtful selection process with Adelante Schools and Phalen Leadership Academies for Emma Donnan,” IPS Superintendent Aleesia Johnson said in a statement.

IPS said it will hold a series of family and community meetings for all three schools ahead of the 2020-2021 school year.

“Everyone from our district administrators to our school-based engagement team members will be working closely with staff, students and families from all three schools to make sure they understand next steps,” Johnson said.

Aryn Schounce is one the parents and southside community representatives who supports Indianapolis Public School's plan. She addressed the crowd, along with other teachers, students charter school and IPS leadership members.

“We’re very encouraged, we have a lot of faith in IPS to move this plan forward," said Schounce, “We also understand that there are a lot of people that aren’t happy about that decision, so my hope is that people can come together. We think this is a step moving forward.”

Schounce added in a written statement:

"Students and families at Emma Donnan deserve better. Teachers and staff deserve better. And the southside community deserves better. We are urging you to support us by giving local control back to Indianapolis Public School."

Jeff Breeding is opposed to the plan, along with a room full of others on his side. He's concerned on where the students will go and how they'll get to the schools from across the city.

“It’s not about the kids," said Breeding, “They wanted to be at Manual, they wanted to be able to graduate at Manual, but they’re not going to be able to do that, it’s sad.”

Supporters say it may be disruptive in short term, but they believe the results will make up for it in test scores, enrollment and career opportunities.

According to previous reports, Howe students will be given priority enrollment at other IPS schools while the board decides what to do with the current property. IPS and Christel House Academy have reached an agreement to have CHA run Manual High School as well as transition current academy students to the Manual location.

Adelante Schools and the Phalen Leadership Academy have been invited to pair up and operate Emma Donnan as a full K-8 school.

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