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The Indianapolis Public Schools Board of Commissioners voted tonight to approve a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Indy Chamber to implement efficiency findings from its recent operational assessment.  The agreement formalizes the Chamber’s commitment to help IPS cut costs as the district seeks $272 million in operating and capital referenda in this fall’s election.

Under the MOU, IPS and the Chamber will continue to work together on plans for long-term financial stability, driving more resources into the classroom and supporting much-needed teacher and principal pay increases.

“We share the goal of making IPS the best urban school district in the nation, bringing fiscal and organizational resources to help the district stay focused on great schools and student learning,” said Indy Chamber President & CEO Michael Huber.  “Tonight is another step towards operational and educational excellence; the next move is up to voters – we urge them to vote ‘yes’ for a stronger IPS on November 6th.”

The Chamber worked with IPS since March on an assessment that found more than $477 million in potential savings.  This analysis – also released in final form today – allowed the district to reduce its operating referendum proposal to $220 million (less than $5 a month for a typical IPS homeowner) and include 16% average raises for teachers and $150,000 principal salaries to boost hiring and retention of qualified educators.

To create a practical strategy for driving efficiencies and educational outcomes, the MOU agreement includes:

  • The Chamber’s commitment to raise up to $500,000 over three years to fund two new IPS positions, a Chief of Transformation and Enterprise Development Director, to identify and implement efficiencies;
  • Chamber funding of continued consulting services (up to a year) developing a detailed implementation plan from the operational assessment, shaping the duties of the two new roles noted above;
  • Creation of an Executive Task Force made up of senior IPS leaders – chaired by the Superintendent – and including Chamber representation to provide oversight and leadership of consulting engagements, efficiency projects, and overall progress towards budgetary and operational goals;
  • A project implementation team, led by the Chief of Transformation and including appropriate departmental personnel, to manage day-to-day, tactical implementation.

“We worked Dr. Ferebee and the Board of Commissioners with unprecedented access and transparency, and we’re excited about the result,” Huber continued.  “This blueprint supports IPS as a system of great schools and diverse options for families, funds pay raises to help make the district an employer of choice for the best teachers and principals, but spares the core of Indianapolis from unreasonable tax increases.

“This MOU takes our partnership from assessment to action. With this signed agreement and our final report as a public commitment, IPS voters can be confident about what their ‘yes’ vote means: 100% of the operating referendum will go towards better pay for educators who make a difference in student achievement, and the business community will stay engaged to help the district work more efficiently and protect taxpayers.

“We’re eager to continue our work as a partner and advocate for IPS; the success of our largest school system is a civic priority and economic necessity for the future of our workforce and our city.”

To download the full IPS operational assessment, click here.