Tense first community meeting on IPS high school closures

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The tension was palpable in the library room.

That was before the meeting even started.

Inside the Glendale branch of the Indianapolis Public Library, the IPS school board hosted its first of several community meetings to discuss the possible closing of high schools.

School board members say school closings—which ones or even how many—aren’t a done deal yet.

But many people who showed up at the first community meeting say they’re convinced the board’s mind has been made up since the taskforce made its recommendation.

The taskforce proposal calls for IPS to close three of its high schools for the 2018-19 school year.

Right now, the high schools are only between 20 to 40 percent utilized due to a sharp decline in enrollment over the last few decades. Parents say they understand the issue, but wonder if the board is taking enough time to figure out the best solution.

“Let’s not rush this thing,” one parent said while presenting her group’s concerns at the end.

Others worried about the impact down the line for their kids’ schools and what that would mean for the communities.

“The new schools, five years from now, looking at this school, what’s it look like?” asked another parent. “How’s it affecting my child at that school?”

Board president Mary Ann Sullivan says she and the other board members are sincerely interested in the feedback they get from the community.

All the group conversations from Wednesday’s meeting were recorded. Someone will transcribe it all, to help the board make an informed decision.

Sullivan also says that due to the increasing interest in the issue, the district will look at larger locations for some of the next meetings. She feels they will most likely add one more meeting to give as many people as possible the opportunity to speak.

Right now, these are the dates and locations for the final three community meetings:

Monday, May 1
Ivy Tech Culinary Center
2820 N. Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN 46208
6:00 – 8:00 pm

Thursday, May 11
Zion Hope Baptist Church
5950 E 46th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46226
6:00 – 8:00 pm

Monday, May 15
Haughville Library
2121 W. Michigan St.
Indianapolis, IN 46222
6:00 – 8:00 pm

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