March 12, 2014

 

Yesterday, a conference committee on HB 1321 met. 

 

Testimony was solicited but was limited to the changes which were to clarify that the schools in IPS that could be reconstituted were limited to schools that have been labeled D/F for the last 3 consecutive years, plus the 3 existing "innovation-like" schools already in existence (should they want to convert under the new law). 

 

Prior versions of this bill would have literally allowed the reconstitution of schools throughout IPS. 

 

Additionally, all A/B schools will be statutorily protected from reconstitution or from infiltration from any other charter school even if these A/B schools have unused space in their buildings.

 

Other changes previously made to the bill through negotiations include the following:

 

  1. Imposition of a 10% cap on the reconstituting of schools in year 1.
  2. Language to have supports for teachers who may want to take a leadership role in creating one of these innovation schools. (A separate MOU between IPS and IEA adds further language on these supports).
  3. Language to require that the agreement include performance metrics to be achieved by the management company (the prior versions were silent on this).
  4. Language to require the agreement to include terms for revocation (the prior versions were silent on this).
  5. Language in the MOU will require that the IPS administration and IEA will have a continuing dialogue on the implementation of HB 1321.

 

Later last evening, Superintendent Ferebee made his revelations about IPS' fiscal state--declaring that instead of a $30 million budget deficit, IPS enjoyed an $8.4 million budget surplus.  While this information is, of course, positive (and Dr. Ferebee has already publicly indicated his interest in engaging in talks with IEA concerning new compensation models), the core issues facing IPS remain the same:  declining enrollment, substantial unused space in buildings, and extraordinary levels of competition from charter schools. 

 

A vote on HB 1321 is likely tomorrow--which is scheduled to be the last day of the 2014 session.