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Ritz doesn't have the power to dump state takeover on her own. But together, the pressing challenges of money, power, and politics leave Indiana's school takeover program with an uncertain future.
For profit companies took over at four schools: Tennessee based EdisonLearning at Roosevelt and Florida based Charter Schools USA at Donnan, Manual and Howe.
But the real turf war was between Adidas Duramo 6 White Glow
And despite the improvement efforts, all five schools are still rated F academically.
Arlington OK for 2014 15, but future uncertainMarcus Robinson, Tindley Accelerated Schools Chancellor and CEO, stands with the Arlington High School sign on Thursday, July 17, 2014. Arlington High School, which was taken over by the State Board of Education, will no longer fall into limbo during this coming school year as many had feared. Instead, the the company hired by the state to operate the school will partner with Indianapolis Public Schools and the Mayor Office to keep the doors open through next year. But the problems faced by Tindley raises issues if the state takeover model of running failing schools can work.(Photo: Matt Adidas High Tops Jeremy Scott
The troubles are emerging just two years after the Indiana State Board of Education spurred on by then Superintendent Tony Bennett turned four persistently low achieving Indianapolis Public Schools and one in Gary over to independent operators.
That same year, a new player entered the takeover arena: Indianapolis' Mayor Ballard.
From the start, Indianapolis Public Schools and Gary Community Schools were livid about the process that severed Arlington and Roosevelt high schools after decades in their districts. Three others IPS's Emma Donnan Middle School and Manual and Howe high schools also entered state takeover.
The law requires the state to intervene when a school reaches six consecutive years of F grades under Indiana's A to F grading system. The option for the state to remove a school from district control was added to state law in 1999 but not used until 2012.
the new operators and the school districts that formerly ran the takeover schools.
Money is another problem: Some takeover operators say they can't keep running their schools without additional state funds, especially after plummeting enrollment gutted the schools' budgets. Tindley Accelerated Schools, the nonprofit that the state pays to run Arlington, wants out but has agreed to stick around for one more school year.
Struggle for control
Today, serious questions have arisen about whether that approach is working.
The company operating Arlington High School on the Northeastside says an exodus of students and cut in funding have created a budget shortfall that can't be closed. At Roosevelt High School in Gary, the management company and the school district are in a dispute over vital building repairs and utility bills.
Two years ago, Indiana boldly decided it would turn around five chronically failing schools by turning them over to reform minded operators.
The state, the school districts, the school operators and Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard's office all have some degree of oversight over the takeover schools.
And on top of all that, the takeover program has lost crucial political support in the state superintendent's office.
Arlington OK for 2014
Tindley, a non profit charter school operator based in Indianapolis then known as EdPower, took over Arlington. Each group signed a five year contract with the state Adidas Hi Tops Red
Democrat Glenda Ritz, who succeeded the GOP's Bennett last year as superintendent, doesn't believe schools should be taken over. She said it would make more sense to give struggling schools more help than sever them from their districts.
Both Gary and IPS launched aggressive campaigns to recruit the takeover schools' students to Adidas Originals High Tops White other district schools a move that would let the districts keep the associated state per pupil dollars.
At his request, the state board gave Ballard day to day oversight of the Indianapolis takeover schools. Ballard's charter school office tracks school academic and financial performance but, unlike with charter schools, Ballard does not have final say over whether the schools are allowed to keep operating.
Takeover operators complained that the districts were not forthcoming when it came to sharing student information and leaving the schools well equipped and well kept.
"Our sense is this is going to take five years before you see a full scale shift to what it needs to be," said Indianapolis Deputy Mayor Jason Kloth.
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