Your Indy Chamber is committed to continued improvement of the Indianapolis Public Schools; we represent thousands of employers that pay IPS taxes, hire IPS graduates, and do business within the district’s boundaries. Indiana’s biggest school system is shaping our future workforce, preparing its students to compete in tomorrow’s job market and contribute to a stronger economy – and for the majority of IPS students growing up in lower-income households, a quality education is the best passport out of poverty.
IPS is rising to the challenge, but continued progress is on the ballot. When you head to the polls tomorrow, just remember the three Rs – referenda (vote yes), reform (support pro-reform candidates) and results (keep IPS moving in the right direction), and encourage your colleagues and friends to do the same.
IPS referenda “essential investments” in the future:
Writing in the Indianapolis Star, Chamber Vice-Chair Lisa Schlehuber acknowledges that “no one likes higher taxes,” but offers a compelling summary of the IPS $272 million capital and operating referenda:
“$52 million will go to capital projects to make IPS school buildings safer and more secure…[the] $220 million operating referendum has been scrutinized and scaled back, after vigorous public debate and a partnership between IPS and the Indy Chamber that took a tough look at the district’s budget and recommended hundreds of millions of dollars in cost-saving efficiencies.
“This slimmed-down plan would cost the average IPS homeowner less than $5 a month, and every penny in new funding will go to pay teachers and principals more, to make IPS an employer of choice.”
IPS is asking for added revenue at a : In just a few years, Superintendent Ferebee and the Board of Commissioners have transformed a traditional, centralized district to a family of more autonomous (but accountable) schools that offer diverse learning options to students. This approach has improved educational performance and increased graduation rates (up to 83%, from a dismal 47% just a decade ago).
But high teacher turnover continues to take a toll on IPS classrooms, and more autonomous schools demand a team of strong principals to lead them. The Chamber’s work on the IPS operating assessment – and commitment to help implement its findings – allows new funding to pay for much-needed salary increases.
Flip the ballot to move IPS forward:
But a successful referendum would be squandered if the Board of Commissioners turns back to status quo education policies or rejects the need to restructure its operations. We need to continue a pro-reform majority on the IPS school board – re-electing Mary Ann Sullivan (at-large) and Dorene Rodriguez Hoops (District 5), and electing Evan Hawkins to the open District 3 seat.
The current board has been open, transparent, and collaborative, willing to work with new school partners and the community to bring innovative opportunities to students – and willing to work with the Chamber to ensure that budget challenges and teacher turnover won’t put academic progress at risk.
Do your homework – then VOTE:
If you’re a last-minute learner, you can find out more about our endorsements of Mary Ann Sullivan, Dorene Rodriguez Hoops and Evan Hawkins, the operational assessment and the Chamber’s multi-year, $1.5 million commitment to help the district implement efficiencies and eliminate its budget deficit on our ‘IPS Partnership’ page – you can get the final assessment report, read about the Memorandum of Understanding the Board of Commissioners, and more. Then do your part Tuesday to help IPS make the grade.