More than 300 teachers at seven Indianapolis high schools are required to reapply for jobs next year, after the Indianapolis Public Schools Board approved a plan Monday to close three high schools, district officials said Wednesday.
The move came as part of a curriculum overhaul and after years of declining enrollment. Only four high schools will remain.
Principal positions are open at Arsenal Tech, Crispus Attucks, Shortridge and Washington high schools. Current school leaders have already interviewed for those jobs. They will compete with outside candidates. IPS talent officer Mindy Schlegel says 2018-19 principals will be announced in a few weeks.
Incoming principals will then determine staffing needs for their schools. Teachers will take a survey to signal their interest in available jobs at individual schools.
“We want them to focus on what is the best fit,” Schlegel says.
It’s still unclear how many positions need to be filled or how many teachers could lose their jobs. District officials have said the closures would save $4.35 million in classroom expenses. Teachers currently part of Broad Ripple’s arts magnet program will automatically transfer to the visual and performing arts and academy planned for Shortridge if they choose.
Starting next year 13 academic tracks, including six "college and career" academies, will be offered across the four high schools. Students will be able to choose which school to attend based on their career or academic interest, rather than the school's location.
The reapplication process will continue for internal candidates through December. After that, the district will interview outside educators to fill remaining positions or those that require specialized training to teach advanced manufacturing, health sciences or other new academic areas.
The board voted Monday to close Arlington, Broad Ripple and Northwest high schools and John Marshall Middle School at the end of the current academic year.
Arlington and Northwest will be converted into 7-to-8th-grade middle schools. Current staff and leadership at John Marshall are expected to transfer to Arlington next year, Schlegel says.
A search for a new principal at Northwest Middle School will also be conducted.
Rhondalyn Cornett, president of the Indianapolis Education Association, released a statement asking teachers with concerns to reach out to their newly formed 'transition teams' at each school.
"The superintendent informed us that he was displacing everyone, 'from the top to the bottom,' except for specialized areas," she said. "While change can be stressful, IEA is here to support you by making sure the process is followed with fidelity."
Up to 150 teachers, including the Broad Ripple arts instructors, and those working in Career Technical Education, International Baccalaureate and Life Skills for special education students will not need to apply.
Correction: This story has been updated to more precisely describe the academic offerings at IPS high schools starting in the 2018-19 academic year.