The Indianapolis Public Schools commissioner board voted to partner with a soon-to-open charter school Thursday night.
KIPP Indy Public Schools will open a high school in north-eastside Martinwood Brightwood neighborhood this summer. The partnership will allow KIPP to purchase services from IPS, such as transportation.
There was some division among commissioners on whether to bring KIPP Indy Legacy High School into the district.
"I cannot close three high schools in less than a year and open another high school for IPS to support," Commissioner Elizabeth Gore says.
Commissioner Diane Arnold voted in support of the partnership.
“The students and their families that attend KIPP and other innovation schools are not stepchildren, they are IPS children, and they deserve the same consideration and same support that we give all of our students.”
The high school would have opened regardless of a partnership with IPS – the operator has received authorization from the mayor’s office.
At the meeting, the district also voted to pay for transportation at KIPP Indy’s existing elementary and middle schools, both partnered with the district in 2015.
“It brings the agreements more in line with our other charter partners that are in IPS facilities,” IPS Portfolio Officer Jamie VanDeWalle said at Tuesday's meeting, “then allows students to access the benefit of services that we fund through our local tax dollars.”
Charter schools only receive state funding dollars, while IPS receives both state and local tax dollars. Transportation in IPS is funded primarily through local tax dollars. This change would allow KIPP Indy Public Schools students –– who are counted as IPS students by the state –– to receive some of the same benefits.
KIPP Indy data shows that a majority of its middle school students don't attend high school in the district –– instead chosing township, charter or private schools. Its leaders hope the new high school will be attended by students matriculating through its network.