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IPS proposes closing six schools

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Indianapolis - Six schools are slated to be closed under a proposal to be announced by Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Eugene White.

The closures would take effect at the end of the 2008-09 school year.

IPS says it has to cut $25 million from the district's general fund. It also cited declining enrollment as another reason for the closures.

The schools are:

  • Edgar Evans School 11, 3202 E. 42nd Street
  • Otis E. Brown School 20, 1849 Pleasant Run Parkway South
  • Minnie Hartmann School 78, 3734 E. Vermont St.
  • Parkview School 81, 3092 Brookside Parkway North Drive
  • T.C. Steele School 98, 3698 Dubarry Road
  • Francis Bellamy School 102, 9501 E. 36th Place

In a statement, Dr. White said it's "never easy to close schools, but our financial situation demands we make this tough decision if we are to be good stewards of public tax dollars. The main driver of which schools were selected to be closed is enrollment. Each of the selected schools serves far fewer students than the building's capacity can accommodate. We simply can't continue to operate this way."

Current enrollment and capacity of each building:

School Enrollment Capacity
11 168 306-416
20 315 417-526
78 351 527-635
81 285 306-416
98 387 527-635
102 221 306-416

Students would attend nearby schools with building capacities that could accommodate their numbers.

The Board of School Commissioners will vote in December, after a series of public meetings, on the proposal. The schedule of community meetings is:

Nov. 6 at School 102 Nov. 17 at School 11
Nov. 10 at School 98 Nov. 24 at School 78
Nov. 11 at School 81 Dec. 4 at John Marshall Community High School
Nov. 13 at School 20 Dec. 8 at Arsenal Technical High School

All meetings will begin at 7 p.m.

The district estimates a one-time cost savings of approximately $280,000 per building.

As the number of schools in operation declines, the number of staff members needed to support children will decrease as well. The majority of staff cuts will be made at the elementary level, although substantial cuts also will be made at the Central Office level. Some programs currently in place may also be eliminated. The district will share more details on the plan to reduce staff and programs in January.

IPS ballot question

The announcement comes at a time when millions of dollars in improvements will be decided by Marion County voters next Tuesday. On the ballot is a question that asks if voters approve of $278 million in proposed renovations and projects for IPS schools.

Voting yes allows IPS to borrow as much as $278 million to renovate 32 schools. Students would get modern classrooms, air conditioning, libraries, and other improvements. Homeowners would get higher property taxes. Increases vary, according to IPS, from about an additional $105 on a $100,000 home or $510 on a $300,000 dollar home.

Voting no leaves the school buildings the way they are.