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'An unfortunate delay': IPS superintendent releases new video about Rebuilding Stronger

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Posted at 7:58 PM, Feb 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-03 20:02:14-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Nearly a week after the Indianapolis Public Schools board delayed its vote on the operating referendum for the Rebuilding Stronger plan, IPS Superintendent Dr. Aleesia Johnson is providing an update she hopes will give clarity to families.

"I have to believe that we all want for other people's children what we want for our own. And it profoundly saddens me that there are those in our community who question if and what our children deserve," Johnson said in a video released Friday. "I'm left to wonder why time and time again, IPS is asked to wait on behalf of our students to be more creative with already strained resources, or to figure out another way, when districts all across the greater Indianapolis area make strides and have leveraged Community Investment multiple times to improve their buildings and the experiences of their students, often without a comment, question or opinion from those outside of their district and school communities."

The capital referendum will still be on the May ballot. It includes the construction of a new elementary school and additions and renovations to multiple schools, among other items.

Johnson says several investments are planned for 2023-2024, including moving pre-kindergarten seats from the dedicated pre-k center to schools across the district.

"We'll also continue with school mergers and ending classroom instruction at several schools at the end of this school year, allowing us to give impacted students a more robust student experience in new schools," she said. "I want to be clear that even without the operating referendum moving forward right now, we are committed to the benefits of our Rebuilding Stronger plan, because it is what we know will give our kids what they deserve. My job is to work with what I have ... we want to see our community support in order to keep our work moving forward, and we will keep moving forward."

Johnson and a team at IPS will review other components of the plan over the next few weeks with a focus on things scheduled for the 2024-25 school year and beyond.

"In our community, we need to have some long, hard conversations about what comes next. I believe that as these conversations begin, we will continue to stay anchored and doing what needs to happen to deliver justice for our kids. And I promise to continue to keep you updated each step of the way," Johnson said.

IPS says its Rebuilding Stronger plan will provide equal opportunities for all students and allow them to take care of necessary building maintenance and repairs.

The IPS board of commissioners approved the plan Thursday, Nov. 17.

You can watch Friday's full update below.