IBJNews

Charter school lands more time in fight against closure

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Leaders of The Project School in Indianapolis will get another chance to state their case for keeping the school open after winning a restraining order late Tuesday.

Mayor Greg Ballard announced July 17 that he planned to revoke the school's charter due to poor test scores and financial issues, but the school balked at the decsion in a formal response three days later and filed for an injunction Monday to stop the revocation.

Ballard, however, emphasized that decision Tuesday afternoon by issuing a "final notice of charter revocation" to the school after hearing its response.

"After thoughtful and careful consideration of the school's July 20, 2012 response, it was determined the school did not meet the standards established for Mayor-sponsored charter schools," the mayor said in a prepared statement. "Therefore, The Project School's charter is hereby revoked, effective immediately."

But later Tuesday, Project School supporters won a temporary restraining order from Marion Superior Court Judge John Hanley that will stop the mayor's revocation until the court can rule on the injunction. The judge scheduled a hearing Monday morning to hear the case.

“If this decision to revoke The Project School’s charter stands, it will be a tremendous loss to our students, their families and our local neighborhood,” said Daniel Baron, president of the school’s board, in a written statement coinciding with the Monday court filing.

Baron said Tuesday morning that school leaders were confident a fair review would show that the mayor’s staff has misunderstood the school's academic progress and misrepresented its financial status.

The 4-year-old school, which is publicly funded, has never seen more than 30 percent of its students pass both the math and reading portions of the state standardized ISTEP test.

This year, the passage rate for the school’s 311 students in grades K-8 was 28.9 percent, according to data released this month by the Indiana Department of Education.

“The Project School ranks among the worst performing schools in Marion County and in the entire state,” Ballard said July 17 in a prepared statement. He added that the school’s 2012 academic results likely would produce an “F” grade under the state’s new accountability standards.

But school leaders argued in their response that it was chartered as a non-traditional program with a mission to teach some of the state’s most troubled children, and that the school’s approach is working.

They cited statistics that show all students in the fourth and eighth grades who have been at the school for at least three years passed the English and math portions of the ISTEP test. The school did not say how many students that included.

The mayor’s intial notice of revocation claims The Project School has run a deficit in each of the last three years and now has accumulated nearly $5.3 million in debt. The notice also stated that the school delayed paying its staff this month by one week because it had so little cash on hand.

School leaders, however, asserted that The Project School does not have a negative cash balance, but actually has a surplus.

The mayor’s “incorrect” assessment was based, in part, on the fact the school “depreciated” the value of a portion of the building it owns. Thus, the mayor’s office apparently considered the “depreciation” a hard-dollar expense when it was actually an accounting label and not a real cash cost to the school, they said.

The school is located at 1145 E. 22nd St.
 

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Get all the facts
    If you're interested in the financials, you can see them at http://www.indianapolisprojectschool.org/. The school did not bounce payroll checks and did not miss payroll; this summer it switched to a new payroll schedule (from 26 to 24 payrolls), requiring a shifting of pay dates. Not an unusual business move.
  • Bouncing checks
    Hmm, you can talk about depreciating buildings, but if you owe 5.3 million more than you did three years ago and are bouncing staff payroll checks, it is much more than just an accounting thing. Explaining that a 29% pass rate is really much better shows the same lack of math skills. Sounds delusional to me.
  • $5.3 Million
    Would it matter that they have had an outside audit by the lender for the building they just PURCHASED? Is there NO value in owning their own building??
  • Save TPS
    When you walk into any IPS school there is at least a couple kids sitting waiting to talk to the principal because they are in trouble. If you walk in to TPS and see children in the office, they are helping the staff or they are ill. Thats it. NEVER once have I ever walked into a school FULL of happy, kind, polite children. IT is much more than just a school. It IS a community. SAVE THE PROJECT SCHOOL.
  • Close it
    $5.3 million in debt for 313 total students is unacceptable.

    Post a comment to this story

    COMMENTS POLICY
    We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
     
    You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
     
    Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
     
    No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
     
    We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
     

    Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

    Sponsored by
    ADVERTISEMENT

    facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
     
    Subscribe to IBJ
    1. I keep wondering why I keep hearing about this problem of corporations leaving America, and I never hear a reasonable proposal to lower corporate tax rates and raise personal rates on income from capital gains and dividends, especially for high earners. It is just too simple of a solution for Congress to embrace?

    2. Are you financially down and you need money to settle your dept,or you need money to start up a business or to invest on a huge business,we also offer Loans to individuals, Firms and cooperate bodies at low interest rate , loan terms determinant,Loan amount between the sum of $5,000.00 to $100,000,000.00. US Dollars And Euro. Loan for developing businesses a competitive edge/ business expansion. We Offer The Following Kinds Of Loans. Personal Loans (Secure and Unsecured) Business Loans (Secure and Unsecured) Consolidation Loan FIRST INFORMATIONS NEEDED ARE: BORROWER’S DATA’S INFORMATION,FILL AND RETURN FOR QUICK START UP PROCESS. Name:_________ Last Name:_________ Age:_________ Contact Address:_________ Country:_________ Amount Needed as Loan:_________ Loan Duration:_________ Phone Number__________ Monthly Income/Yearly Income:_________ Purpose for Loan:_________ Occupation:_________ How Soon is Loan Needed__________ Email via: albertbrownfirm@outlook.com

    3. is a disaster. SR37 already needs to be built to interstate standards between 465 and SR144. Southport Road is a mess each morning and evening.

    4. Bass Pro Shops would be good for the mall as well as a Giant Eagle Market District or a Jungle Jim's International Market Place grocery store like the one near Cincinnati Ohio.A Disney quest indoor theme park would be good.An Academy outdoor store would be good too.Indoor Circus shows and magic shows would be good as well. A casino with sports bar would be good.A Disney theater inside that shows movies and Broadway shows would work.Nashville Tennessee concert shops with indoor neon lights would be good.How about a theater that shows travel shows and theme parks. A train store would be good.How about a giant toy store with high tech video games.

    5. This development is in addition to Allpoints Midwest 5, Aitrtek, a recent FedEx and more in Plainfield. Greenwood and Brownsburg also have similar projects.

    ADVERTISEMENT