(AP) — Indianapolis Public Schools leaders filed a public records
request Thursday seeking information on the 2011 takeover of four
schools amid questions about the integrity of the state's A-F school
IPS Board of
Commissioners President Diane Arnold called for a review of the
decisions that led the state to give control of the schools to charter
operators after they were consistently found to be "failing."
accountability system is supposed to be transparent," Arnold said in a
statement. "It is in the best interest of our students and their
families for all of the facts surrounding the school takeovers to be
disclosed to the public and reviewed in the light of day."
system has been under fire since The Associated Press published emails
last month showing former schools chief Tony Bennett oversaw changes to
the formula to ensure a top Republican donor's school received an 'A'.
Bennett subsequently resigned as Florida's education commissioner.
leaders who complained of secrecy in the Bennett administration over the
school grades before the emails were released have since said the grades
issued last year should be deemed invalid. Fort Wayne Community School
Corp. voted 6-1 Monday to support a resolution from Democrat Mark
GiaQuinta refusing to recognize the state's school grading system.
Pence on Thursday said he was standing by the state's school-grading
system and would not consider calls to suspend the grades for a year. He
blamed the media for "anxiety" over the school grades.
understand the anxiety that's been created over allegations that have
been reported in the press and questions that have been raised around
email communications," he said Thursday. "We're going to get to the
bottom of the accusations that have been raised."
control of four Indianapolis schools in 2011, after years of poor test
scores and graduation rates. He cited Indiana's school takeover law,
passed a dozen years earlier by Indiana Democrats, in saying it was time
to give control of the schools to charter school groups.
Indianapolis charter school group won one of the contracts from the
state. Charter Schools USA, whose president has donated to Bennett and
hired Bennett's wife earlier this year, won the contracts for the three
other Indianapolis schools.
officials pointed out earlier this month that if Bennett had shown the
schools the same deference he gave Christel House Academy, a charter
school founded by donor Christel DeHaan, they would have been taken off
the state's takeover list. But Bennett said at the time that showing any
flexibility in how the school grades were calculated would undercut the