IDOE intends to appeal ruling that could affect Gary schools

2012-12-31T19:00:00Z 2013-01-01T18:18:09Z IDOE intends to appeal ruling that could affect Gary schoolsCarmen McCollum carmen.mccollum@nwi.com, (219) 662-5337 nwitimes.com

The Indiana Department of Education intends to appeal a recent Marion County court ruling that calls into question student counting procedures.

Marion County Superior Court Judge Patrick McCarty ruled against the Indiana State Board of Education in early December. The judge said the state improperly counted about 1,500 Indianapolis Public Schools students as registered at four schools that were taken over by the state, even though those students had transferred to other IPS schools before the current school year began.

The Indianapolis Star reported then that the ruling means more than $6 million in student funding transferred from IPS to the schools' private operators should not have been taken away.

Outgoing Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett, who was defeated in November's election, pushed for the takeovers of the four Indianapolis schools and Roosevelt high school in Gary.

IDOE spokeswoman Stephanie Sample said Monday that while nothing is happening right now, the state intends to file an appeal. She said the judgment applies to the section of law governing the entire state, meaning "it applies beyond just IPS."

Former Gary School Board member Darren Washington said the ruling could mean that in addition to IPS, the Gary Community School Corp. may see a refund of at least $2 million.

The state assigned turnaround school operators to Gary Roosevelt and four Indianapolis schools. Both school districts lost enrollment when outside management companies took over the operation of those schools.

Now called Roosevelt College and Career Academy, the school was one of seven taken over by the Indiana Department of Education for being on academic probation for six consecutive years.

The state tapped Tennessee-based EdisonLearning as the company to turn the school around. The company spent last school year assessing the academics, staff, facility and technology. It signed a contract with the state a few months ago to operate the school for the next four years.

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