School ruling could mean Christmas gift to Gary, Indy schools

2012-12-24T14:37:00Z 2012-12-26T00:29:05Z School ruling could mean Christmas gift to Gary, Indy schoolsStaff and Wire report nwitimes.com
December 24, 2012 2:37 pm  • 

The outgoing president of the Gary Community School Corp. board said the district is getting a potential Christmas gift as a result of a recent Marion County court ruling.

Marion County Superior Court Judge Patrick McCarty ruled against the Indiana State Board of Education's "improper student counting procedures" Friday.

School Board President Darren Washington said the ruling is a blessing for Gary and Indianapolis schools.

"We had some serious concerns with their (the state's) interpretation of a state law that was vague in several critical areas, and their decision to fund a private operator for students not enrolled," he said. "The Gary Community School Corp. should expect a refund of at least $2 million. I hope this issue and many others can be reconciled during the 2013 legislative session, because voters sent a clear message concerning education reform in the 2012 November election."

According to an Associated Press story, the judge said IDOE improperly counted students at the schools that had been taken over by the state, even though they had transferred to other schools before the current school year began.

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

Outgoing state schools chief Tony Bennett, who was defeated in November's election, pushed for the takeovers of the four Indianapolis schools and one in Gary.

Bennett spokesman Dan Baker said the agency is currently reviewing the ruling. Officials at EdisonLearning, which operates Gary Roosevelt, could not be reached for comment.

Two years ago, the state announced seven schools would face intervention under Public Law 221, the state's accountability measure. A turnaround school operator was assigned as the special management team to operate five of the schools, including Gary Roosevelt. A lead partner was assigned to the remaining two schools in Indianapolis.

State takeover is one of five statutory intervention options open to the State Board of Education for schools in year six of academic probation under PL 221.

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