The impact of IPS cuts on students

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Indianapolis - Tens of millions of dollars in budget cuts, hundreds of teachers let go and the state's largest school district dealing with a financial crisis some say is the worst in decades. It is going to have an impact on the students.

The job cuts announced by IPS Superintendent Dr. Eugene White are bigger than originally thought. 357 teaching positions, the majority of them layoffs, will occur before the start of the new school year. 23 administrators and the jobs of 19 social workers and non-teaching employees are also being eliminated.

All that adds up to more children in every classroom.

Although IPS class sizes should remain smaller than many of the surrounding school districts, the teachers' union sees serious consequences for students and teachers.

"Those effects are going to be profound. Indianapolis already has the hardest children in the state to educate. We have more at-risk children. more children with needs. 87% of our kids come from free and reduced lunch. 85% of our kids come from single parent families. It makes it much more difficult to educate those children. They have a lot of needs and with cut-backs it is going to be more difficult because there are higher class sizes," said Ron Ellcessor, Indiana State Teachers Association.

Fewer teachers also means less individual attention.

"The teacher is not going to be able to give them the individualized time. Today there is something called differentiated instruction. A teacher is not supposed to teach the same thing to every student. Each student has special needs and each student's special needs then are supposed to be met by that teacher. Will those special needs be met if class sizes get larger. I certainly hope so, but I know it will be more difficult for a teacher to do that," Ellcessor said.

Declining enrollment is one reason for the spending cuts, but the biggest reason is a reduction in state funding.

Lawmakers say there will be no additional money for public schools. In addition, they are changing the formula that determines how much money each school system receives for each student.

IPS and schools in other high poverty communities argued their students have special needs and cost more to educate, but other communities have insisted they are unfairly paying the price and their children are getting short changed.

Supporters of the new formula insists it narrows the differences in funding and more equitably divides up the money.

Read more about the cuts at IPS:
IPS to cut over 357 positions