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IPS board delays vote on controversial tax referendum

The decision was made Saturday morning during the Action Session at the Winter Board Retreat.

INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Public Schools agreed to delay voting on a controversial tax referendum to help pay for the school district's Rebuilding Stronger plan.

Many organizations - including RISE Indy - are against the plan, saying it would cause a funding gap between students in independent public charter schools and students in district-run schools. They say, under the proposal, the total funding gap could be as high as $10,000.

RELATED: Opponents to IPS reorganization say it would widen funding gap between charters, district-run schools

The IPS Board of School Commissioners agreed to delay voting on the operating referendum during the Action Session at its Winter Board Retreat at the Madam Walker Legacy Center Saturday morning.

The district's capital referendum, which was unanimously approved in December, will remain on the ballot for May's primary election. 

IPS plans to share how Saturday's decision to delay would impact its Rebuilding Stronger plan with staff, parents and families. 

“This move today by IPS leaders will allow the tough but critical community conversations to happen to get this plan right," said Justin Ohlemiller, the executive director of Stand for Childen.

RISE Indy president and CEO Jasmin Shaheed-Young praised the board's courage to delay, saying in a prepared statement, "We look forward to working with the district to ensure there are more resources for public school students in Indianapolis. We know this means working locally and at the Statehouse, and we’re here for that fight."

IPS Superintendent Dr. Aleesia Johnson expressed disappointment in the board's decision in her statement after Saturday morning's session, but reaffirmed that the input and work reflected in the Rebuilding Stronger plan's framework sets the district on a course "to be a more equitable district with great school choices open to every family in every neighborhood."

Dr. Johnson called on community leaders to have hard conversations so public schools of all types "can accomplish that goal of our children winning so that taxpayers aren't asked to bear the burden of what is currently two different systems in our center city."

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