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Supporting Strong Leaders

Posted by chamberadmin on October 27, 2014

IPS Board Elections: Your vote counts

Indianapolis is a city on the rise, and we’ve experienced tremendous success over the past decade that has made us a destination for companies and their employees.

But when those employees decide to start families, they often depart the confines of our great city in search of places to live where schools are consistently ranked as high-performing.

As the CEO of the Indy Chamber, I believe we are in a unique position to stem that tide by transforming Indianapolis Public Schools into a district where there’s a high-quality school option in every neighborhood and decision-making is always focused first and foremost on student needs.

To accomplish that goal, however, we must knock down the bureaucratic silos that have kept IPS from previous districtwide success, and we must chart a course where anyone who is willing to help build strong schools is welcome. New ideas have value. Change is not the enemy. We will fail if we do not work together.

On Nov. 4, Indianapolis voters will cast their ballots to elect three members to the IPS Board of Commissioners, the governing body that oversees the school district.

The Indy Chamber represents nearly 3,000 local businesses and more than 200,000 local employees who understand that the future of our city is directly tied to the future of our schools.

Today’s high school students are tomorrow’s workforce, and our city’s long-term financial security depends on retaining young families who will proudly choose IPS over other school options.

That’s why the Indy Chamber is publicly supporting three school board candidates whom we believe will work together to transform the state’s second-largest school district into a network of high-performing schools in every Indianapolis neighborhood.

Former State Rep. Mary Ann Sullivan, former school board member Kelly Bentley and educator LaNier Echols are ready to tackle the district’s big challenges with open minds and a willingness to bring everyone to the table. We also believe they will lead efforts to increase transparency and efficiency in district operations.

That’s not something that’s happened in IPS before, and the result is a system where preserving the status quo came to matter more than listening to teachers, school leaders, parents and students.

Under the leadership of a new Superintendent, however, IPS already has begun to move away from an era of top-down governance into an era of collaboration and transparency.

The Indy Chamber is proud to be partnering with IPS throughout this evolution. Earlier this year, we released an in-depth review of IPS operations in the areas of finance, human resources, information technology, facilities and transportation.

The eight-month study laid the groundwork for improvements that will help reduce costs at the district level so resources can be more appropriately directed to classroom instruction of the students.

After all, high-quality education doesn’t spring forth from a central office: It happens in classrooms across our city, the result of the invaluable academic relationship between outstanding teachers and their students.

With support from organizations like the Indy Chamber and its members, our community can shine a spotlight on the schools in IPS that are currently flourishing and make sure we’re lifting up those that need a little help.

What’s important right now is that we keep up the good work heading in a direction that puts IPS families first.

The Indy Chamber has confidence that Mary Ann, Kelly and LaNier will be strong leaders on the school board who will work with their fellow board members and the new Superintendent to continue that positive transformation. I hope you will give them your support on Nov. 4.

 

Sincerely,

Michael Huber
President & CEO
Indy Chamber