The authorizer of two virtual schools accused of mismanaging state tests, student enrollment, and special education services voted Monday night to give the schools more time to defend themselves—even after they missed a key deadline for submitting a written explanation.
Indianapolis Lighthouse East, which reopened four years ago, was expected to graduate only 44 percent of seniors in its first graduating class this year. It has struggled with dwindling enrollment, low test scores, and high teacher and principal turnover.
Two virtual schools were put on notice Monday night that their charters could be revoked after their authorizer alleged that thousands of enrolled students went semesters or sometimes years without earning any credits or even signing up for classes.
Even though some districts are projected to lose students, they would still get more state money because of changes to Indiana’s funding formula that add funds for vulnerable students and because lawmakers put more money in the budget overall.
The more generous scale has boosted IPS’ performance as it launches a new strategy of partnering with charter operators, by allowing some innovation network schools to earn high marks despite overall low test scores.
Some Republican lawmakers want district schools to share extra tax dollars approved by voters for buildings and facilities with nearby charter schools — but the idea is falling flat with some educators and Democrats.
New proposals stem from recommendations made by education officials, including potential solutions to low test scores and graduation rates, a lack of student and parent participation, and the need to improve their oversight.