Thursday, July 19, 2012

Ballard to Revoke School's Charter

Word has been given to The Project School, one of Indianapolis' charter schools, that they will be be having their charter revoked.  The revocation will take effect immediately; no classes will begin at the school this fall.

According to an Indianapolis Star story, the charter is being revoked for multiple reasons.  The school was one of the worst performing schools not only in the county, but in the entire state.  Only 29% of the school's students passed the ISTEP.

Perhaps just as troubling is the extreme financial issues the school is having. The school apparently was bouncing payroll checks.  The reports also states that the school misused large amounts of federal funds as well as accumulating three million dollars in debt.

The revoking of the charter, at least according to the details of the Star's story, seems to be a fully acceptable.  It also goes to show one of the benefits of the expansion of charter schools recently in Indiana: the ability to hold the school accountable with extreme consequences.

This is the way schools across our state should operate.  If they fail to meet the most basic requirements then they should be at risk of being closed. The growth of charter schools makes this more likely to occur.  The addition of voucher programs makes consequences even more likely, as parents would be unwilling to allow their children to continue to attend schools that so horribly fail.

Over the next days or weeks we will undoubtedly learn more details about what exactly was happening at The Project School.  For now, though, it seems that some of the safety nets in place with our charter school system have enabled Mayor Ballard to get rid of a bad apple before it could do any more damage.

(If you are interested in learning more about charter schools, voucher programs, and school choice, The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice will be holding the Friedman Legacy for Freedom Day at the Conrad Hotel in downtown Indianapolis on Friday, July 27th.  Please contact Chris Spangle for more information.)


  1. So, getting a charter, blowing the money on "admin", screwing with the kids' education, flipping the bird to the State, then getting to walk away much wealthier after being "held accountable" is OK?

    I see a little problem with that model of education "reform".

  2. why didn't you post my comment?

    1. I don't have my blog set up to require my approval for comments to post, they should go up automatically. If you posted a comment that somehow didn't end up on the page, I apologize. I encourage you to repost it.

  3. Re-post from yesterday

    This is purely political. Certain Board members have criticized the Mayor and this is how he returns it. It's no surprise to me that he waited until past the appeal date had passed before pulling the plug. He submarined them. Don't believe everything you hear out of the Mayor's office either. The Project School was audited within the last 2 weeks by an independent firm and was given a clean bill of health. As for the test scores, for most of these kids this is their last stop. They are the troubled of the troubled kids in our community. If you look at the scores for kids that have been there for a few years versus the kids that have only been there for 1 year, there is a dramatic improvement. Almost by definition, these kids are not going to do well on ISTEP their first year at the school. It takes time to unwind the terrible education and experiences these kids have had so far in life. The Project School is great school, ask any parent who has kids there.