Indianapolis Public Schools has announced recommendations for closing four schools before the 2018-2019 academic year. Superintendent Lewis Ferebee tells our partners at WTHR-TV low enrollment led to the decision, which will affect Arlington, Broad Ripple, Northwest and John Marshall high schools. The district is also recommending the sale of two administrative buildings which, combined with the sale of the Broad Ripple High School building, could save millions of dollars.
According to the district’s recommendations, John Marshall High School would transition into a middle school for the 2017-2018 academic year. Arlington and Northwest would transition into 500-seat and 600-seat middle schools, respectively. Broad Ripple High School would be sold, along with the Forest Manor Professional Development Center and the Facilities Maintenance Department.
Staff from Forest Manor would move to Arlington, while the Facilities Maintenance functions would be split between Arlington and Northwest. IPS estimates the sale of the properties could generate up to $13 million.
If approved, the move would leave IPS with four high schools: Arsenal Tech, Crispus Attucks, George Washington and Shortridge. Two other high schools, T.C. Howe and Manual, are currently being operated by Charter Schools USA as part of a state takeover due to poor performance. Ferebee says the effort to "right size" the district would set up the remaining schools with programs that are better suited for students.
"By reinventing our high school curriculum and choices, we’re better preparing our students for the workforce and also higher education," Ferebee told WTHR. "We need to ensure that our schools are more centrally located to accommodate choice throughout the district. What we’ve seen over the past couple years is we’ve had momentum with our graduation outcomes and our post-secondary success for our students is that students who participate in our career pathways, or our choice program, have much better outcomes."
The recommendations are set to be introduced Thursday to the IPS Board of Commissioners. Ferebee says more than 20 public meetings are set to take place to discuss the closures and the board will vote on the measure in September.
You can view more about the recommendations from the district below: