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IPS says it needs more funding or it'll be 'in the red' by 2028

IPS said it has seen an increase in costs the last few years after making crucial changes like additional support for students in need and improving curriculums.

INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Public Schools officials point to budget constraints as one of the reasons they're failing to meet the diverse needs of students. 

"Somehow, children can have fundamentally different resources in their schools because they live 30 minutes apart — and the most astounding part is that we accept that as normal," said IPS Superintendent Dr. Aleesia Johnson. 

The district said one big issue it's facing is that funding from the state hasn't kept up. 

Total tuition support across Indiana has increased 21% since the 2013-2014 school year. However, IPS' share only went up 6%.

"Because much larger increases have gone to districts with significantly less poverty, a truly regressive pattern that confuses equality with equity," Johnson said.

IPS said it has seen an increase in costs the last few years after making crucial changes like additional support for students in need, improving curriculums and offering staff raises to attract and keep more teachers. 

And the district said there's still plenty more to do but not enough money to cover it. 

"If we want to change all that, we need to come together around a plan. And the need is only going to get more pronounced," Johnson said. 

IPS received $213 million in emergency funds from the federal government during the pandemic.

However, the district said this money won't support long-term budget changes because the money will run out in 3 years. 

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Schools also received added financial support after a referendum a few years ago. IPS said that funding only meets part of the district's needs.

Now IPS is starting to cut costs in areas like transportation and energy management. 

Johnson said if long-term budget issues aren't addressed they'll be "in the red" by 2028.