Indiana ‘turnaround’ schools get their money

Indiana’s turnaround schools are getting the extra federal dollars they requested. Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz announced federal School Improvement Grant awards last week, and three-fourths of the state’s $9 million in discretionary SIG funding went to five “turnaround academies.”

Awards under the federally funded Section 1003(a) grant program included $1,474,000 for Roosevelt Academy, $1,402,000 for Arlington High School and $1,329,000 each for Thomas Carr Howe High School, Emma Donnan Middle School and Emmerich Manual High School. School Improvement Grants are awarded by state education agencies to boost performance at persistently under-achieving schools.

Roosevelt, in Gary, is run by Edison Learning. The other four are in Indianapolis. Arlington is run by Indianapolis-based EdPower, and Howe, Donnan and Manual are operated by Charter Schools USA. The state took charge of the schools in 2011 and turned to “turnaround school operators” to administer them. Ritz, no fan of state school takeover, handed oversight to the Indianapolis schools to the Indianapolis mayor’s office in February.

At the State Board of Education meeting in June, Marcus Robinson, CEO of EdPower, insisted Arlington needed at least as much SIG money this year as it received last year to keep operating. Continue reading