Facilities Manager Darren Hess and Snider High School Principal Deborah Watson explain Fort Wayne Community Schools' plan to renovate 36 buildings.
As a rule of thumb, for every ten cents a school corporation asks for when proposing a tax levy increase, it knocks a percentage point off the number of voters supporting the referendum.
“In a close election, that could make the difference,” says Purdue agricultural economist Larry DeBoer. “Though most of these elections haven’t been that close.”
Before 2008, Indiana school corporations could levy up to $2 million without asking for taxpayer approval. But changes to how schools are funded have sent an increasing number of districts to the ballot box in the last five years. Only 16 of the 40 districts that have pursued major construction projects have succeeded.
That has DeBoer and others who study school finance curious about the future of facilities maintenance in Indiana schools.
“Will it be the case that some school corporations find that they can pass the referendum and therefore they can keep their facilities up to date and have new buildings and better facilities,” he says, “while other school corporations perhaps cannot?” Continue Reading →
Matthew Brooks points down the hallway of an old school building in Indianapolis in which he and other Project Libertas leaders are considering renting space next year. Project Libertas, a private, non-accredited school formed by charter school the Indianapolis Mayor's Office shut down last summer, is currently renting space in a church-owned gymnasium just northeast of downtown.
And about 20 defiant families have done just that.
The school they’ve opened, called “Project Libertas,” has very little money. But with about 35 students in Grades K-8 and a small staff of former Project School hands, the parents are now seeking a more permanent home.
“I don’t know there’s even a word to describe us,” says parent Matthew Brooks, sitting in a small room in the school’s current location — a church-run gymnasium on Indianapolis’ east side. “We’d need a few hyphenations. We’re an independent, hyphen… communal, hyphen… startup school.” Continue Reading →
State Auditor Tim Berry, left, and Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann, right, attended state superintendent Glenda Ritz's inauguration. Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg, not pictured, also attended.
Newly-elected state superintendent Glenda Ritz took the oath of office before a crowd of hundreds of supporters and statewide dignitaries in the atrium of the Indiana Statehouse Saturday afternoon.
Younger students walk through the halls of Rockville Elementary School as fifth graders portray famous historical figures. The students can't talk or interact with their parents or peers while part of the Tableau Museum.
You’re in fifth grade. It’s the day before school lets out for winter break. You’re excited about the holidays, the forecasted winter storm and no homework for two weeks.
But before you can go, your teacher makes you stand in the hallway — perfectly still, perfectly silent — while your peers file past. Sound like a tall order? Welcome to the annual Rockville Elementary School Tableau Museum.
We spent a lot of time covering policy here at StateImpact. I was in Rockville Thursday looking at the state’s A-F letter grade system. But when Principal Jeff Eslinger asked if I’d stay another hour “to see something special,” well, you can’t say no to that.
So for a bit of light-hearted fun, I’ll let fifth grader Kennett Taylor explain his class’ history project. Continue Reading →
That’s because dollars underwrite services for special education students — and by law, local districts must still fund those services even if those dollars fall victim to the automatic spending cuts coming at year’s-end.
State superintendent-elect Glenda Ritz addressed the State Board, asking members to table the REPA II teacher licensing proposal and all other action items. Board member Jo Blacketor responded that the state's top education panel has been working on this proposal for a long time.
The proposal, known in shorthand as REPA II, has been controversial, as we’ve written. Supporters say the provision offers more flexibility in who gets licensed while still allowing schools to decide what teachers get hired. Opponents say REPA II “de-professionalizes” teaching by de-emphasizing training prospective educators receive in colleges of education.
Students in the C4 Columbus Area Career Connection building trades program dig a foundation for a out building on Aug. 30, 2012. Students work on one large-scale construction project each year — usually a house — but this year theyâre building a new baseball complex for the Bartholomew School Corporation.
It’s just after 2 o’clock on a Thursday afternoon. The sun is high in the sky, and the construction workers digging the foundation of a storage building at Columbus North High School’s new baseball field are about to call it a day.
But once they’re done, they’ll board a yellow bus and go back to school. That’s because the workers at this construction site are high school students.
Both major party gubernatorial candidates are calling for Indiana high schools to bring back vocational training. Yet most Indiana school districts already have robust career and technical education programs — and they’re not just for students preparing for college.
A teacher at Carpe Diem charter school in Indianapolis assists a student working in the 'learning center.' Students spend half their day in this room, which is filled with hundreds of cubicles and computers, working on assignments online. Teachers use data about their progress to craft classroom lessons.
Indianapolis high school junior Reo Burton spends as much of his school day at a cubicle as he does in a classroom.
Half of Burton’s time is spent in a classroom, but the other half is spent taking online courses with the assistance of both virtual and in-person teachers and learning coaches.
“It’s a lot more interactive than one would believe — just sitting in a cubicle working,” Burton says.
This mix between digital curriculum and in-classroom instruction is called “blended learning,” and Burton is part of a small handful of Indiana students who’ve moved to similar schools.
First graders at Wea Ridge Elementary in Lafayette eat lunch on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012. Schools in Indiana and across the country are changing what they're serving to meet new federal school lunch guidelines.
What kids are eating in their school lunches has been a topic of discussion since the School Nutrition Association was created in the 1940s. That’s because the guidelines are always changing.
New rules handed down earlier this year from the United States Department of Agriculture focus less on calories and fat and more on whether all the food groups are being served.
At Wea Ridge Elementary in Lafayette, a colorful menu board helps students make good choices as they move through the lunch line. Last year the Tippecanoe School Corporation served cheeseburgers. But this year they’re serving hamburgers. That’s because the new guidelines have changed how old favorites are served while adding more fruits and vegetables to the menu.
Senior Jose Valdivia of Bolivia came to Kokomo because he thinks going to an high school in Indiana will make it easier to get into an American university. Valdivia, who wants to study engineering, says his top picks are Purdue and Texas A&M.
With per pupil funding decreasing in Indiana, educators are searching for ways to generate revenue. In Kokomo, one district has turned an abandoned building into a residence hall for international students — a concept largely untried among public schools in the state — hoping to bring in more than a quarter million dollars for the school corporation and potentially much more for the city.
For much of the last four years, Kokomo city leaders, from Mayor Greg Goodnight on down, have been working to help the community recover from a recession that left one in five residents jobless and made the city the subject of news coverage documenting its woes.