Letters: RISE Indy has endorsed credible IPS candidates

A recent IBJ editorial called for increased competition in Indianapolis Public Schools board races to ensure “board members are representing the interests and the will of the students and families in the district they represent” [“IPS school board races need jolt of meaningful competition, Sept. 30].

There are three strong Black women running for IPS school board, so I have a slightly different take. I’m proud that RISE Indy, the organization I founded to help improve local public schools, endorsed them all.

I’m even prouder that two of them were part of the Circle City Leaders program, an initiative that connects candidates and campaign staffers of color to the training and resources they need to navigate a political system they’ve historically been kept out of.

This year, IPS District 3 candidate Hope Hampton and at-large candidate Angelia Moore are both CCL alumni. Current IPS commissioners Kenneth Allen and Will Pritchard also are CCL graduates.

At RISE Indy, we believe school board candidates should know what they are running for because the job isn’t what most people think it is. The IPS budget runs between $300 million to $500 million in any given year. The board’s role is to hire the superintendent, assist with strategic planning and budgeting and hold the district accountable for implementation.

We agree that in a district where 80% of students are non-white, the board should look like the families it represents: All three RISE-endorsed candidates this cycle are women of color. They are collectively focused on issues such as equitable funding, financial transparency, language justice, increasing the number of teachers of color in the district and providing better access to mental health support.

Running for office has become increasingly difficult over the years. I’m proud of the work RISE Indy is doing to train emerging leaders, ensure candidates are informed about the job they’re seeking and encourage our community to vote like our city’s future depends on it.

Jasmin Shaheed-Young

RISE Indy CEO

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