Education

4 IPS board candidates oppose ‘Rebuilding Stronger’ proposal plan

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Ahead of the Nov. 8 school board elections, Indianapolis Public Schools board candidates Nicole Carey, Angelia Moore, Hope Hampton and Kristen Phair say they were against progressing the district’s “Rebuilding Stronger” proposal forward for a final draft.

In a forum hosted Thursday evening by WFYI and Chalkbeat Indiana, they said they would not vote no.

“I don’t want that to be interpreted as something that means I don’t support the board, or I don’t support the district however, I have questions,” Carey said. “I don’t necessary think that I have all the answers or one particular person has all the answers, but I do highly value the wealth that our community brings.”

She said the plan had a lot of great components within the proposal, but being a mother of three young children in the district, she would like to know more and says she’d like to see more community input on the plan.

The four candidates are seeking three open seats on the IPS school board.

The board holds seven seats in total for the district.

Carey is going to the district five seat that doesn’t have an opponent for the race.

Moore is going for an at-large seat in the district, which also won’t have an opponent for the race.

She said that as an IPS graduate, parent, and former employee, it’s important to hold the district accountable for the decisions that would impact students.

“So the answer to that is an easy no, because as the draft is written there’s many things that it doesn’t entail. It doesn’t explain or show the detail on how we got to those choices,” Moore said. “To any constituent, make sure they’re reaching out to us. Make sure that they are prepared to vote, and make sure their voices are heard.”

Hampton and Phair are going up against each other for District 3.

In a statement to News 8, Hampton said:

First, the plan wasn’t communicated with families well from the beginning. There’s still folks in the district that have no idea how this plan will impact their kids. I was at the most recent board meeting and noticed that we weren’t hearing public comment from a diverse mix of families which makes me wonder how accessible information has been and how accessible these meetings are. Second, the district hasn’t told us how this plan is the best financial decision going forward.”

Hampton said the district needs more community perspective on the board. She grew up near the fairgrounds and was one of those kids that needed a little extra push to make it. She needed someone to believe in her and she’s grateful someone did. As commissioners to the community, it’s the job of the board to make decisions transparently. 

In a statement to News 8, Phair said:

“I would vote no on the proposal because I haven’t seen a financial feasibility plan, because IPS has not addressed the concerns our teachers laid out at the board meeting of September 29, and because the district has not meaningfully partnered with those families most affected by these changes. I want to see IPS acknowledge that most families choose their school based on proximity to their home and the proposed full choice model eliminates presumptive access to a nearby school.  Many of our under-resourced families depend on this access for meaningful involvement.  I’d like IPS to consider a preferential tier of access for our under-resourced families to attend the nearest public school to their home.

She said the district needs commissioners who will listen to their constituents, critically analyze the data behind proposed plans and budgeting, and advocate for the quality education of every child.