Officials’ emails reveal deep worries about takeover school
INDIANAPOLIS | Emails showing deep concerns about how a private company was handling an Indianapolis school taken over by the state in 2012 are raising broader questions about how the Department of Education operated under former schools chief Tony Bennett.
The Indianapolis Star reports Bennett's top aides were so alarmed by disarray at T.C. Howe High School that Bennett's chief of staff suggested checking the contract with Charter Schools USA, the Florida company hired to run the school, for options.
"I think we need to do something," Heather Neal wrote in an Aug. 28, 2012 email, less than a month after the start of school. "I don't know what our contract allows or what we have the ability to do, but this is awful."
The state took over failing schools in Indianapolis and Gary in 2012 and hired Charter Schools USA and other private companies to operate them. The schools were targeted after earning six consecutive F grades for poor test performance.
Bennett and Charter Schools USA downplayed the early turbulence at Howe. Bennett told the state education board on Aug. 30, 2012, that Howe wasn't up to the same level as other takeover schools but didn't suggest drastic action.
Lake at Indiana state park being drained to replace fish population
BLUFFTON | The lake at a northeastern Indiana state park is being drained so that its fish can be replaced.
Indiana Department of Natural Resources officials say that Kunkel Lake in Ouabache State Park has become overrun with carp and small bluegills, without enough largemouth bass to control the bluegill population.
The lake is also overrun with crayfish that stir up mud so that few aquatic plants are present.
The agency expects the 25-acre lake in the park near Bluffton will be drained into the nearby Wabash River by the end of September. As the lake refills, it will be restocked with a mix of largemouth bass, bluegills, channel catfish and sunfish.
DNR biologist Jed Pearson says fishing quality won't improve at the lake without the draining project.