Superintendent of closing schools: ‘For some kids, this is home’

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Jan. 22, 2015) — Two more Indianapolis charter schools will close their doors at the end of the year and parents at one met for the first time with school leaders Thursday.

Parents at University Heights Preparatory Academy in Fountain Square told CBS 4 they had no idea where they’d put their kids, citing the school’s small size as a benefit.

“(My daughter) knows all the teachers and loves all the teachers,” parent Judy Edwards said.

Ball State University decided not to renew the charters for both University Heights and Fall Creek Academy, citing chronic under-performance. Without a charter, both schools will close their doors in June. The university also closed Imagine East in 2013, marking the end of all three of its physical Indianapolis schools. It runs two virtual online schools in the city.

“We’ve appealed in every way possible to Ball State,” Superintendent Charlie Schlegel said.

Schlegel addressed parents Thursday night, saying teachers would work hard to finish strong this school year and help each student find a new school individually.

That didn’t provide much comfort to some parents, though, who said they’ve already exhausted other options.

“He’d planned on going to high school here,” grandfather Leroy Anness said.

“I don’t really know where she’s going to go to school because it’s taken me a long time to find a really good school,” Edwards said.

The closures mark five charters pulled within the city of Indianapolis this school year. Flanner House Elementary closed in September amid a cheating scandal, while the city transferred Padua Academy and Andrew Academy back to the Catholic diocese.

Schlegel said he did not believe the schools, under Ball State’s charter for only two and half years, had enough time to prove growth in areas like ISTEP testing.

“It feels like a decision’s being made when we’re only halfway done with telling our story,” Schlegel said.

Parents at both schools will have more opportunities in the coming weeks to meet with administrators and have their voices heard. You can find more information at the Fall Creek Academy and University Heights websites.

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