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Goodwill looks to expand charter schools for high school dropouts

COLUMBUS, Ind. (The Republic) — Columbus is one of four cities in Indiana being proposed for a charter school that would give high school dropouts an opportunity to earn their diploma.

Goodwill Education Initiatives Inc., a nonprofit group tied to Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana, wants to open Excel Center sites in Columbus, Bloomington, Marion and Muncie. If opened, they would join 11 Excel Center locations in central Indiana, said Cindy Graham, vice president of marketing and spokeswoman for Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana.

The nonprofit has already filed an application with the Indiana Charter School Board, which will consider the matter during its June 7 meeting in Indianapolis. If approved, the first adult high school would open in 2018-19 in Muncie with the remaining slated to open over the next four years, according to the organization’s application filed with the state.

The earliest Columbus’ location would open is in July 2020 if approval is granted by the Charter School Board, Graham said. As part of the proposal by Goodwill Education Initiatives Inc., each school would have about 300 students who would receive free tuition as part of their education.

The nonprofit would also make free childcare and bus passes available to students attending the Excel Center if needed.

The existing Excel Center locations include four in Indianapolis and others in Anderson, Clarksville, Kokomo, Lafayette, Noblesville, Richmond and Shelbyville.

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