Friday, February 8, 2013

Mayor Gets More Control of Schools

After an Indiana Board of Education decision, Mayor Greg Ballard now has oversight of the four former IPS takeover academies at Manual, Arlington and Howe High Schools as well as Emma Donnan Middle School. That means local control is somewhat returned to these schools under Ballard. With seven more charters recently approved by the City-County Council, Ballard now has 11 schools just placed under his watch.

It also means that Ballard, according to WIBC, has oversight over 37 public schools. That’s pretty impressive for a guy that said during this last campaign that the Mayor had little to do with public education.

This also gives the Mayor a tremendous responsibility to see that these schools operate correctly and achieve. Ballard has pulled charters before. A few weeks before the school year was to begin, he closed the Project School. The school itself was not achieving at levels anyone would have liked and had some financial problems, according to the Indianapolis Business Journal. The closure left some parents loyal to the school disappointed and left trying to scramble where to send their child for school in 2012/2013.

Last month, Ball State yanked its support of seven charter schools due to poor performance.

Every time a charter school closes, the parents and students of that school are left holding the bag. It’s why I think we should just be a little more judicious in creating more charters for the Mayor to oversee. He’s creating a bigger bureaucracy than the traditional school district. It’s a lot to put on the shoulders of one very busy man.

We’ll see how all this works out for students across Indianapolis.

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