March 4, 2014

 

HB 1321 was heard today on its final passage in the Senate. The bill passed 31-17.

 

ISTA, together with IEA, have been in negotiations with legislative leaders, the Mayor’s representatives, the Governor’s staff, and Superintendent Lewis Ferebee in an effort to provide clearer definition to the scope of the bill. 

 

The bill started out extremely open-ended—giving the IPS school board broad authority to reconstitute existing schools throughout the district and to contract out to charter schools for any purpose—renaming these schools “innovative network” schools. 

 

As passed by the Senate today, the IPS school board could contract out with charter schools in order to fill unused facility space and could reconstitute schools only if they were D/F for 3 consecutive years or D/F for the most recent year.  NOTE:  There is a further agreement with the author to go into a “trailer bill” to remove the language dealing with D/F schools for one year so that an “eligible school” ultimately would only apply to D/F schools for 3 consecutive years.

 

Additionally, there would be a 10% cap on the number of schools IPS could reconstitute in the initial year and schools designated as A/B schools would be protected from reconstitution altogether.

 

Other additions include the requirement that performance criteria and benchmarks must be included in any agreement with an entity operating an innovation network school and the agreement must also include terms for revocation. 

 

There is also language in the bill speaking to the IPS board providing supports to teachers who wish to start a school or program.

 

Finally, the parties have agreed to negotiate a supplemental memorandum of understanding to further flesh out the details—particularly the teacher/administration details.

 

Since the bill passed out of the Senate, it could be eligible for a conference committee; however, the more likely path will be additions made to a “trailer bill” in order to make further clarifications.

 

Please continue to contact both your State Representative and State Senator to urge continued work on HB 1321 during conference committee—whether the language ends up in HB 1321 or another bill.