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District announces partnership with Indy Chamber to conduct strategic operational and financial review; pledges continued focus on teacher pay and special education

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Public Schools Board of School Commissioners voted today to move its operating and capital referenda from May’s primary election to November’s general election.

“Our commitment to best serve students, teachers and employees is unwavering,” said Superintendent Dr. Lewis D. Ferebee. “In partnership with the Indy Chamber and community stakeholders, we’ve decided it is best to table the referenda until November and allow time for a more detailed strategic operational and financial analysis in support of the district’s goal to become the best urban school district in the nation. The extra time will allow even more voters to participate in important conversations about the future of our district.”

Between now and November, IPS will hold additional community forums, engage with parents and families, meet with neighborhood groups and partner with the Indy Chamber to dive deeper into current operations and finances. During the next 120 days, the Indy Chamber will conduct a strategic review of all IPS business functions. Superintendent Ferebee and the IPS Board will collaborate as an active partner in the review and establish a prioritization and implementation plan.

“We are grateful for Dr. Ferebee and the Board of School Commissioners’ commitment to be conscientious stewards of taxpayer-provided resources,” said Michael Huber, Indy Chamber president and CEO. “We look forward to supporting and partnering with Dr. Ferebee and the Board to confirm the best path forward.”

The referenda, previously planned to be on the ballot on May 8 during the primary election, will now be presented to voters on Nov. 6 during the general election. Last December, the IPS Board voted to pursue operating and capital referenda. Funds from the operating referendum would support competitive teacher compensation, close funding gaps and provide appropriate levels of service to its high proportion of students with special needs.

The capital referendum would fund the MyIPS Safety, Security and Technology Project. This project would allow IPS to enhance the safety and security at all IPS-owned school facilities, address deferred maintenance needs and invest in energy efficient technology to reduce annual operating costs across the district.

Without referendum funds, IPS could be forced to freeze teacher and employee compensation, reduce educational programs for students, reduce the quality of services for students with special needs, continue to defer building maintenance and scale back transportation services.

“There is a clear need for referenda funds, and we understand the importance of public education and community engagement throughout the process,” said Michael O’Connor, IPS Board of School Commissioners president. “Our partnership with the Indy Chamber will provide even more guidance for the best use of taxpayer dollars to support our students, teachers, employees and, ultimately, Indianapolis.”

For more information about the district’s plans, visit www.myips.org/learnmore. Indy Chamber’s report findings will be made available at indychamber.com/advocacy.

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