INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — La Tosha Walker is on a mission to make sure her son with autism is getting the education he deserves in Indianapolis Public Schools.
She shared a report from an Indiana Department of Education’s investigation with I-Team 8. The report showed her son missed out on 5,242 instructional minutes in 2022.
Her son Tyrese Walker is enjoying the first days of summer break, but his fifth-grade year was not enjoyable in part because of what happened.
The Department of Education investigation found that Tyrese’s teachers at Edison School of the Arts removed him from class 114 times over 71 days of school.
La Tosha said, “Most of the list says, ‘talking,’ ‘class disruption.’ Those are daily activities that go on in school.”
When Tyrese was taken out of class he was taken to a room in the guidance learning center. “In GLC, you do nothing but sit there and whatever they have you do, but he’s not getting his work, so those are minutes of his education that he’s not receiving,” La Tosha said.
La Tosha told I-Team 8 her son being taken out of class violated his individualized education plan because he has autism. “My son’s autism is sensory, so, with that sensory, sometimes the room could be too loud. It could be too much going on and then it just overstimulates him, so what comes out as being a disruption to some people may be just something he’s trying to work through.”
Walker has a binder full of documents related to her fight to make sure her son is getting the education he deserves. It included the eight-page report from the investigation by the Department of Education.
The report said that her son’s “IEP did make some provision for removal to the GLC, the numbers of such removals and time the student was removed from instruction services was excessive, leading to a denial of free appropriate public education (FAPE).”
The Department of Education told I-Team 8 the report is not finalized. Both sides involved have a chance to ask for reconsideration.
La Tosha acknowledged to I-Team 8 that her son is not perfect, but said that should not prevent him from getting his education. “If my son is doing something and he needs some discipline, send him, but send him with his work. They’re not sending him with work.”
La Tosha suggested any parent with a special needs child should brush up on Article 7, the IPS special education rules, so they can stick up for their kids’ education. “Article 7 is there to back the parents up. You just have to take the time to read it, or find somebody that can help you. We’ve got to start holding these schools accountable for the services our children are supposed to have.”
Walker told I-Team 8 she’s working with IPS on the plan to get her son the 5,242 minutes of education he missed last year.
I-Team 8 reached out to IPS via email and phone for a comment about this situation, but it did not respond by Tuesday afternoon
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Officials with Indianapolis Public Schools on Monday night explained their decision to reopen classrooms.
IPS Superintendent Aleesia Johnson was joined by Dr. Virginia Caine, director of the Marion County Public Health Department.
“We feel it’s OK for schools to reopen based on the current data that we have today,” Caine said.
The town hall came on the same day Washington Township Schools announced that north-side district will begin the year only with online instruction.
IPS announced its plans last week to teach students both in the classroom and online. Johnson said having an in-person option is best for the families the district serves, at least for now.
“At the end of the day, it is Black and brown communities who face and carry the burden of that decision on either side,” Johnson said.
She acknowledged the decision is difficult: either open school buildings with the risk of coronavirus or keep them closed forcing tough choices for working parents and homes without the internet.
“Our decisions won’t be perfect,” Johnson said. “Certainly not everyone will be in agreement with every decision that we make, that is to be expected.”
Johnson said a survey of more than 4,000 parents found one-third preferred classroom learning, one-third preferred virtual and one-third were unsure.
Caine pointed out that IPS was among the first in Indiana to close its doors at the beginning of the pandemic, but said science and data shows that things are much safer now than they were months ago, lending to her support of the IPS decision.
She referenced several data points, including the number of cases, which peaked in April at more than 300 a week. That tally is now down to around 60 a week. The rate of positive tests, which was 45 percent, is down to 7 percent. She also noted there are usually zero or a single death each day attributed to the virus.
“We have done honestly a phenomenal job of having our cases reduced since the peak,” Caine said.
Johnson responded Monday to questions about social distancing in the classroom and on buses, the likely process if a student or staff tests positive for COVID-19, and the amount of personal protective equipment.
“I feel good about where we are right now in terms of PPE, masks. We’ve ordered lots and lots of hand sanitizer,” Johnson said.
But, like everything else, everything is subject to change even in the next three weeks before IPS is scheduled to begin on Aug. 3.
“If data points us in a direction that says we need to do something different than what we’re currently doing or planning to do, we will not hesitate to respond to that,” Johnson said.
Johnson asked parents for several things — including to daily checks before school of your child’s symptoms and keeping contact information up to date — so if someone tests positive, the school district can let parents know.
The district will be in touch with the health department for each positive test, and the department will help determine who needs to quarantine.
- Indiana State Department of Health coronavirus information (includes phone number to state hotline)
- Sign up for COVID-19 vaccinations in Indiana
- WISH-TV coronavirus coverage
- WISH-TV’s “Gr8 Comeback”
- Original Indiana Back on Track plan
- Revised Stage 3 of Indiana Back on Track plan (May 12-June 13)
- Revised Stage 4 of Indiana Back on Track plan (June 12-July 3)
- Governor’s order, July 1: Stage 4.5 of Indiana Back on Track plan
- Governor’s order, Aug. 26: Extension of Stage 4.5 of Indiana Back on Track plan
- Governor’s order, Sept. 24: Revised Stage 5 of Indiana Back on Track plan
- Governor’s order, Jan. 28, 2021: 11th renewal of statewide emergency
- Governor’s order, Feb. 25, 2021: 12th renewal of statewide emergency
- Indianapolis government’s COVID-19 Community Resources page
- Gleaners Food Bank distribution sites in Indianapolis area, south central Indiana
- Second Harvest of East Central Indiana “tailgate” food distribution sites
- Food Finders distribution sites in west and north central Indiana
- Coronavirus COVID-19 global cases map from John Hopkins University
- CDC’s coronavirus page
- Marion County Public Health Department coronavirus information
- U.S. Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program
- Indiana PPE Directory (for businesses, nonprofits and schools only)
Indiana coronavirus timeline
With information from the Indiana Department of Health through March 4, 2021, this timeline reflects updated tallies of deaths and positive tests prior to that date.
- March 6, 2020: Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) confirms the first case in Indiana. Officials say the Marion County resident had recently traveled to Boston to attend a BioGen conference as a contractor.
- March 8: ISDH confirms a second case. A Hendricks County adult who had also traveled to the BioGen conference was placed in isolation. Noblesville Schools says a parent and that parent’s children will self-quarantine after attending an out-of-state event where someone tested positive.
- March 9: Avon Community School Corp. says a student on March 8 tested positive.
- March 10: ISDH launches an online tracker. Ball State University basketball fans learn the Mid-American Conference tourney will have no fans in the stands. Three businesses operating nursing homes in Indiana announce they will no longer allow visitors.
- March 11: The Indianapolis-based NCAA announces the Final Four basketball tournaments will happen with essential staff and limited family attendance. The Big Ten announces all sports events, including the men’s basketball tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, will have no fans starting March 12. Ball State University suspends in-person classes the rest of the spring semester. NBA suspends all games, including the Indiana Pacers, until further notice. Butler University and the University of Indianapolis extend spring break, after which they will have virtual classes.
- March 12: Gov. Eric Holcomb announces new protections that led to extended public school closings and the cancellation of large events across the state. The NCAA cancels its basketball tournaments. The Big Ten suspends all sporting events through the winter and spring seasons. The league including the Indy Fuel hockey team suspends its season. Indy Eleven says it will reschedule four matches. Indianapolis’ annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade is canceled.
- March 13: The Indiana High School Athletic Association postpones the boys basketball tournament. Wayzata Home Products, a Connersville cabinet maker, shuts down and lays off its entire workforce due to market uncertainty. Holcomb announces actions including the elimination of Medicaid co-pays for COVID-19 testing and the lifting of limits on the number of work hours per day for drivers of commercial vehicles. Franklin College says it will begin online classes March 18 and empty residence halls of students in two days. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis closes indefinitely. The Indianapolis Public Library joins other libraries across Indiana and closes all facilities indefinitely.
- March 14: The Indiana Gaming Commission says all licensed gaming and racing operations will close in two days for an indefinite period.
- March 15: Indiana had its first death. St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis announces it will suspend all elective, non-urgent surgeries.
- March 16: Indiana had its second death. Gov. Holcomb announced the first Hoosier death. He closes bars, restaurants and nightclubs to in-person patrons, but maintains carryout and delivery services.
- March 17: Indiana had its third and fourth deaths. ISDH announces Indiana’s second death. Gov. Holcomb activates the National Guard. Purdue, Butler and Indiana State universities cancel May commencement ceremonies.
- March 18: Indiana had its fifth death. Eli Lilly and Co. says it will use its labs to speed up testing in Indiana. The 500 Festival suspends all events. Simon Property Group closes all malls and retail properties.
- March 19: Holcomb extends Indiana’s state of emergency into May. Holcomb says he’ll close all K-12 public and nonpublic schools; standardized testing was canceled. The state’s income-tax and corporate-tax payment deadline was extended to July 15. Holcomb says the state will waive job search requirements for people applying for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. Indiana’s high school boys basketball tournament was canceled.
- March 20: Indiana’s death toll rose to 9. ISDH announces Indiana’s third death. Holcomb moves the state’s primary election to June 2. Indiana University says it is postponing May commencement ceremonies on all campuses.
- March 21: Indiana’s death toll rises to 14. ISDH announces Indiana’s fourth death. Indiana National Guard says it and the state Department of Transportation are distributing medical supplies to hospitals.
- March 22: Indiana’s death toll rises to 18. ISDH announces seven deaths.
- March 23: Indiana’s death toll rises to 23. Holcomb orders nonessential Hoosiers to “stay at home” from March 24-April 7. Eli Lilly & Co. begins drive-thru testing for the coronavirus for health care workers with a doctor’s order. Ball State University cancels the May commencement.
- March 24: Indiana’s death toll rises to 28. Fred Payne of Indiana Workforce Development says any Hoosiers out of work, including temporary layoffs, are eligible to apply for unemployment benefits.
- March 25: Indiana’s death toll rises to 33. Indianapolis Motor Speedway announces the Indianapolis 500 is moved to Aug. 23.
- March 26: Indiana’s death toll rises to 42.
- March 27: Indiana’s death toll rises to 45.
- March 28: Indiana’s death toll rises to 58.
- March 29: Indiana’s death toll rises to 77.
- March 30: Indiana’s death toll rises to 91.
- March 31: Indiana’s death toll rises above 100, to 113. Holcomb extends the limits of bars and restaurants to offer only “to go” and “carryout” through April 6.
- April 1: Officials extend Marion County’s “stay at home” order through May 1. Marion County health officials say they will start COVID-19 testing services for front-line employees.
- April 2: The state announces K-12 schools will be closed for the rest of the school year. Indiana High School Athletic Association cancels spring sports seasons.
- April 3: Holcomb extends the “stay at home” order through April 20. The Indiana National Guard says it, the Army Corps of Engineers and state health officials will begin to assess sites for alternate health care facilities.
- April 6: The state reports a Madison County nursing home has had 11 deaths. Holcomb extends the “stay at home” order through April 20. He also limits additional businesses to carry-out only.
- April 7: Indiana health commissioner Box says four long-term care facilities have 22 deaths that appear to be related to COVID-19.
- April 10: ISDH said 24 residents of a long-term care facility in Madison County have died from COVID-related illness.
- April 14: Indiana’s death toll rises above 500.
- April 16: Indiana records more than 10,000 positive coronavirus tests. The governor says he expects Indiana to experience a reopening in early May.
- April 20: Holcomb extends the “stay at home” order to May 1. The governor also says if the medical supply chain is in good shape, other elective medical procedures can resume April 27.
- April 22: The Tyson facility in Logansport voluntarily closes so 2,200 employees can be tested for COVID-19.
- April 24: The Indianapolis City-County Council approves $25 million to help small businesses. Fishers City Council creates a city health department.
- April 25: ISDH says it will launch an antibody testing study for Hoosiers; thousands of residents were randomly selected to participate in the study.
- April 27: Indiana’s death toll rises above 1,000.
- April 28: Indiana officials say they will open COVID-19 testing to more Hoosiers, with expanded criteria and new testing services at 20 sites around the state.
- April 29: The state says it will spent $43 million on contact tracing.
- April 30: Indianapolis extends its stay-at-home order through May 15.
- May 1: Gov. Holcomb announces a phased reopening plan for the state of Indiana. He also extends the “stay at home” order to May 4.
- May 3: Indiana records more than 20,000 positive coronavirus tests.
- May 4: Indiana enters Stage 2 of its Back on Track plan, which excludes Cass County until May 18, and Lake and Marion counties until May 11.
- May 6:The state begins testing for all Hoosiers at 20 sites, with plans to expand the number of sites to 50 in a week. Ivy Tech Community College says it will continue virtual classes when summer courses begin in June.
- May 8: Cris Johnston, director of the Office of Budget and Management, says the state missed out on nearly $1 billion in anticipated April revenues; all state agencies will be given budget-cutting goals. Purdue University OKs plans to reopen for the fall semester with social distancing and other safety measures.
- May 13: The first phase of a state-sponsored study of the coronavirus estimated about 186,000 Hoosiers had COVID-19 or the antibodies for the novel virus by May 1. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett announced plans for limited reopenings of worship services, retail establishments, libraries and restaurants.
- May 15: Simon Property Group reopens Castleton Square Mall, Circle Centre Mall, and Fashion Mall at Keystone
- May 18: Indiana reports its first case of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in a child. The Farbest Foods turkey-processing plant in Huntingburg is closed for three days; 91 people had tested positive there.
- May 21: Indiana records more than 30,000 positive coronavirus tests.
- May 22: Indiana advances to Stage 3 of the Back on Track reopening plan. Indianapolis closes portions of five streets to allow restaurants to reopen with outdoor dining only.
- May 26: Indiana’s death toll rises above 2,000.
- May 27: Indiana University says the fall semester will have in-person and online courses, plus an adjusted calendar through May 2021. Ball State University says the fall semester will be 13 straight weeks of in-person classes with no day off on Labor Day and no fall break.
- May 29: Places of worship in Marion County can begin holding indoor services at 50% capacity with proper social distancing. Jim Schellinger, Indiana secretary of commerce, said the federal Paycheck Protection Program has made 73,430 loans in Indiana totaling $9,379,164,461, the federal Economic Injury Disaster Loan program has made 5,070 loans in Indiana totaling $445,428,500, and the federal Economic Injury Disaster Loans Advance program has made 38,365 grants in Indiana totaling $136,554,000.
- June 1: Marion County restaurants begins serving customers indoors and outdoors with 50% capacity. Marion County salons, tattoo parlors reopen by appointment only. Marion County gyms, fitness centers and pools reopen with 50% capacity and no contact sports. However, a Marion County curfew that began the night of May 31 and continued into the morning of June 3 after rioting impacted the reopening of some businesses.
- June 3: Phase 2 of statewide testing of random Hoosiers by the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI and the Indiana State Department of Health begins.
- June 5: Indiana reports May tax revenues were 20% short of projections made before the coronavirus closings started.
- June 8: Indianapolis leaders agree to spend $79 million in coronavirus relief funding on contact tracing, rent relief, personal protective equipment and support for small businesses.
- June 12: Indiana, excluding Marion County, advances to Stage 4 of reopening plan.
- June 15: Casinos and parimutuel racing reopen in the state. Marion County’s public libraries begin a phased reopening. Indiana records more than 40,000 positive coronavirus tests.
- June 19: Marion County advances to Stage 4 of state’s reopening plan.
- June 24: Holcomb says the state’s moratorium on the eviction on renters will be extended through July. Indiana announces it will create a rental assistance program July 13. Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon says he has tested positive for COVID-19.
- June 27: Indiana hospitalizations for COVID-19 begin to increase, with about 33 new patients a day through July 1.
- July 1: The governor pauses Stage 5 final reopening plan, announces Stage 4.5 from July 4-17.
- July 4: Indiana’s Stage 4.5 reopening plan begins.
- July 9: Indiana records more than 50,000 positive coronavirus tests. Marion County mandates mask-wearing.
- July 10: Indianapolis Public Schools announces its reopening plans.
- July 11: Indy Eleven resumes 2020 season with victory at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis reopens.
- July 13: Indiana begins rental assistance program for all counties but Marion County. Marion County begins its own rental assistance program.
- July 15: Indiana announces the Stage 4.5 reopening plan will continue another two weeks. The WNBA season begins.
- July 16: Indianapolis suspends applications for its rental assistance program due to overwhelming demand.
- July 24: Bars, taverns and nightclubs in Indianapolis are shut down again. City officials also return to other previous restrictions.
- July 25: Indiana Fever begins WNBA season after delays.
- July 27: Indiana governor’s order to wear face coverings begins. Great Lakes Valley Conference, which including University of Indianapolis, postpones most fall sports, including football, men’s and women’s soccer, and volleyball, until spring.
- July 30: NBA season resumes.
- Aug. 4: Indianapolis Motor Speedway announces the Aug. 23 Indianapolis 500 will be run without fans.
- Aug. 9: Indiana records more than 75,000 positive coronavirus tests.
- Aug. 11: Indiana’s death toll rises above 3,000.
- Aug. 17: Indianapolis Public Schools restarts with online-only classes. News 8 learns the 2021 NBA All-Star Game will not happen on Presidents Day weekend in 2021.
- Aug. 20: Purdue University suspends 36 students after a party at a cooperative house.
- Aug. 21: Indiana high school football season begins with some teams not playing due to COVID-19 concerns.
- Aug. 23: Butler University tells undergraduates that instruction will occur remotely for the first two weeks of the semester, starting Aug. 24, instead of in classrooms.
- Aug. 24: Purdue, Indiana, IUPUI and Ball State universities resume in-person classes.
- Aug. 25: Reports say a fraternity, a sorority and a cooperative house at Purdue University are under quarantines.
- Aug. 26: Gov. Holcomb extends the mask mandate through Sept. 25. Indiana’s rental assistance program will take applications for one last day.
- Aug. 27: Indiana University says eight Greek houses are under 14-day quarantines.
- Sept. 2: Indiana University tells 30 Greek houses in Bloomington to quarantine.
- Sept. 6: Indiana records more than 100,000 positive coronavirus tests.
- Sept. 8: Marion County allows bars and nightclubs to reopen with 25% capacity indoors and 50% capacity outdoors.
- Sept. 12: The Indianapolis Colts open their season with a loss in a Jacksonville stadium with a limited number of fans.
- Sept. 21: The Indianapolis Colts home opener is limited to 2,500 fans.
- Sept. 23: Gov. Eric Holcomb extends the mask mandate through Oct. 17.
- Sept. 24: The state’s mask mandate is extended through Oct. 17.
- Sept. 25: The Mid-American Conference announces it will start a six-game football season Nov. 4, with the championship game Dec. 18 or 19.
- Sept. 26: Indiana advances to a revised Stage 5 of Indiana Back on Track plan with relaxed limits on gatherings, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and more. Marion, Monroe and Tippecanoe counties decided to have more restrictive limits, however.
- Sept. 27: The Indianapolis Colts second home game is limited to 7,500 fans.
- Sept. 28: Purdue University says it’s suspended 14 students, including 13 student-athletes, for violations of a pledge designed to curb the coronavirus pandemic on campus.
- Sept. 30: The Indiana State Department of Health’s online coronavirus dashboard began showing data on positive coronavirus cases in Indiana schools.
- Oct. 1: IU’s website shows two additional fraternities and a sorority at the Bloomington campus have been issued “cease and desist” orders.
- Oct. 2: Franklin College suspends classes and moves to virtual education and activities through Oct. 9 after a “concerning and unusual” increase in the positivity rate for COVID-19.
- Oct. 12: Franklin College returns to in-person classes.
- Oct. 13: Indianapolis-based drugmaker Lilly pauses its trial of a combination antibody treatment for coronavirus for safety reasons.
- Oct. 14: Indiana health commissioner Dr. Kristina Box announces she has tested positive for COVID-19.
- Oct. 15: Gov. Holcomb issues executive order to extend mask mandate and Stage 5 reopening plan.
- Oct. 16: Indiana’s death toll rises above 4,000.
- Oct. 18: The Indianapolis Colts third home game was limited to 12,500 fans.
- Oct. 23: The Big Ten begins its football season.
- Oct. 30: Gov. Holcomb extends the public health emergency through Dec. 1.
- Nov. 1: Indiana National Guard to begin deploying to long-term care facilities to provide coronavirus assistance. The Mid-American Conference football teams begins its six-game regular season.
- Nov. 5: Indiana records more than 200,000 positive coronavirus tests.
- Nov. 8: The Indianapolis Colts fourth home game was limited to 12,500 fans. .
- Nov. 10: Indiana’s death toll rises to 5,000.
- Nov. 12: Indianapolis calls for schools to go to virtual learning by Nov. 30.
- Nov. 15: Indiana adds coronavirus-control restrictions for all businesses and gatherings in counties with the highest number of new cases as part of an update to the statewide COVID-19 pandemic response.
- Nov. 16: Indianapolis limits capacity inside bars, private clubs, fraternal organizations and gyms to 25%; inside restaurants, libraries, funeral homes, swimming pools and shopping malls’ food courts to 50%; and inside religious services to 75%. Marion County Health Department requires preregistration for COVID-19 testing after increased demand at three drive-thru locations.
- Nov. 22: Indiana records more than 300,000 positive coronavirus tests.
- Nov. 23: Indianapolis Public Schools returns to virtual learning through Jan. 18.
- Nov. 24: The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball seasons begin; some games had no fans in the stands.
- Nov. 25: Indiana’s death toll rises above 6,000.
- Nov. 26: Butler University men’s basketball cancels Nov. 29 game against Eastern Illinois after a positive COVID-19 test.
- Nov. 28: Butler University men’s basketball team postponed two more games because of a positive COVID-19 test.
- Dec. 1: Bankers Life Fieldhouse hosts its first NCAA men’s basketball game, Kansas vs. Kentucky, since the start of the pandemic.
- Dec. 2: Indianapolis ends its rental assistance program.
- Dec. 5: The men’s basketball game of No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 2, Baylor at Bankers Life Fieldhouse is postponed 90 minutes before tipoff after two Bulldogs test positive.
- Dec. 6: Indiana’s death toll rises above 7,000.
- Dec. 9: Indiana records more than 404,000 positive coronavirus tests. Holcomb says virus restrictions will now by county based on ratings that show the local virus spread. Indiana and Purdue universities cancel the Old Oaken Bucket football game set for Dec. 12.
- Dec. 10: Indiana House Speaker Todd Huston says he tested positive for COVID-19.
- Dec. 11: The Pacers lose to the Cavaliers as the NBA preseason begins. The Carmel Walmart in Westfield closes for nearly two days to sanitize the store.
- Dec. 12: Ball State University President Geoffrey Mearns tests positive for the coronavirus.
- Dec. 14: Health care workers receive the first coronavirus vaccinations in Indiana.
- Dec. 15: Vice President Mike Pence holds a roundtable in Bloomington at pharmaceutical maker Catalent on the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Indiana and Purdue again cancel the Old Oaken Bucket football game that’d been reset for Dec. 18.
- Dec. 16: Indiana’s death toll rises above 8,000.
- Dec. 20: The Indianapolis Colts allows up to 10,000 attendees at Lucas Oil Stadium for the team’s game against the Houston Texans.
- Dec. 22: NBA starts league’s 75th season, delayed and shortened to a 72-game schedule because of the pandemic.
- Dec. 23: In response to the high volume of unemployment claims, Holcomb extends the suspension of certain requirements to expedite the hiring and training of temporary workers to more quickly resolve unemployment issues. Indiana Pacers to host first home game against New York Knicks with no fans present.
- Dec. 27: Indiana’s death toll rises above 9,000.
- Dec. 29: Indiana records more than 500,000 positive coronavirus tests.
- Dec. 31: Indiana’s death toll for 2020 is 9,459 (as recorded through March 4, 2021).
- Jan. 1, 2021: Indiana’s death toll rises above 9,500.
- Jan. 3: The Indianapolis Colts allow 10,000 attendees at Lucas Oil Stadium for the team’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
- Jan. 4: Grades 1-12 schools in Marion County are allowed reopen to in-person learning. Perry Township Schools is the only district to reopen to in-person learning.
- Jan. 5: Purdue and Nebraska postpone a men’s basketball game over health and safety concerns.
- Jan. 7: Indiana’s death toll rises above 10,000.
- Jan. 8: Hoosiers 80 and older start receiving the coronavirus vaccine.
- Jan. 13: Hoosiers 70 and older can get the coronavirus vaccine.
- Jan. 18: NFL announces the scouting combine will not happen in Indianapolis in February.
- Jan. 20: Indiana records more than 601,000 positive coronavirus tests. Indiana Pacers host up to 1,000 at a game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the first fans since the pandemic began.
- Jan. 21: Indiana’s death toll rises above 11,000.
- Feb. 1: Hoosiers 65 and older can get the coronavirus vaccine. The Indianapolis St. Patrick’s Day parade is canceled for the second year in a row.
- Feb. 4: More than 1,500 coronavirus deaths were added to the Indiana State Department of Health’s dashboard after an audit found they were not recorded. News 8 learns all games for the Big Ten men’s basketball tourney will move from Chicago to Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium.
- Feb. 7: Indiana to change school protocols for classroom quarantine and contact tracing.
- Feb. 14: Indiana’s death toll rises above 12,000. Indiana records more than 650,000 positive coronavirus tests.
- Feb. 17: Indiana officials announced plans for a $448 million program to give housing assistance to Hoosiers.
- Feb. 19: The NCAA says up to 25% capacity will be allowed for all rounds of the men’s basketball tourney including the Final Four. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway announces the May 30 Indianapolis 500 will have fans.
- Feb. 19: Indiana’s death toll rises above 12,100.
- Feb. 23: Hoosiers 60 and older can get the coronavirus vaccine.
- Feb. 25: Indiana records more than 660,000 positive coronavirus tests. Capacity limits at bars, restaurants, gyms, and music venues in Marion County were adjusted after a consistent trend in the community’s COVID-19 positivity rate.
- Feb. 25: Indiana’s death toll rises to 12,200.
- Feb. 28: Indiana National Guardsmen to end assistance to long-term care facilities.
- March 1: The 500 Festival Mini-Marathon says it will be virtual for the second year in a row.
- March 2: Hoosiers 55 and older start receiving the coronavirus vaccine.
- March 3: Hoosiers 50 and older start receiving the coronavirus vaccine.
- March 4: News 8 learns up 8,000 fans will be allowed in Lucas Oil Stadium for Big Ten men’s basketball tournament games. Indiana records more than 665,000 positive coronavirus tests.
- March 5: A three-day, drive-thru, mass-vaccination clinic opens at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for 16,800 Hoosiers.
- March 12: A two-day, drive-thru, mass-vaccination clinic was set for Ivy Tech Community College in Sellersburg.
- March 18: NCAA men’s March Madness games, all of them at venues in Indiana, to start with First Four games in Bloomington and West Lafayette.
- March 26: A two-day, drive-thru, mass-vaccination clinic was set for Compton Family Ice Arena at the University of Notre Dame.
- March 31: Holcomb’s emergency declaration with county-based restrictions and a mask mandate set to end at 11:59 p.m.
- May 4: Indianapolis Indians set to begin delayed season with away game against Iowa Cubs.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – It’s official: Indianapolis Public Schools teachers are getting raises.
The school board voted Thursday night to raise teacher salaries.
Raises will be from 3 percent to 9 percent depending on each teacher’s performance record and time spent with IPS. On average, it’s a $2,500 payout.
But, the raises are too little too late for Angela Tipton, an eighth-grade teacher who left IPS two years ago for a similar job at a township district.
“I’m happy for people. More money is more money. But, the comparison of what I got to leave the district was over a 20 percent increase,” Tipton said. “It’s not even comparable.”
IPS leaders said the salaries and benefits are a $5.2 million investment negotiated with the Indianapolis Education Association. Union representatives praised IPS after the decision.
The district can afford the raises, in part, because taxpayers voted in November to give the school more than $270 million.
Superintendent Lewis Ferebee, who is soon leaving the district to head the schools in Washington, D.C., said, “We would love to do more. We’re committed to doing more but we can only move at the pace of the resources we have.”
IPS teachers earned 2 percent raises in each of the past two years. Thursday’s decision marked the biggest boost for IPS teachers since 2015, when some teachers earned 12 percent raises.
“We will look forward to learning more about what the financial landscape will be for state funding and other resources that will allow us to bolster teacher compensation over the next couple years,” Ferebee said.
Ferebee said the interim superintendent, Aleesia Johnson, looks forward to negotiating future deals with the union.
Two parents spoke in support of the raises at the board meeting.
The raises are a one-year deal for the current school year, meaning some teachers will earn a lump sum payment for the past semester.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Voters on Thursday night had a chance to ask questions and learn the details of a proposed property tax hike to help Indianapolis Public Schools.
Two referendums will be on ballots on Election Day, Nov. 6.
IPS is asking for $272 million from property taxpayers in the IPS district. The money would go to safer schools, competitive teacher salaries with benefits, and stronger learning programs, according to IPS.
Robert Vane is the lead consultant for the Vote Yes For IPS PAC.
“We want your questions. We want your feedback and we want you concerns,” Vane said. “I have heard really good questions at every forum I’ve been to and so all these forums are worth while. They’re worth peoples’ time which is why the superintendent has pledged to do them.”
Vane said the Thursday night forum was to break down how the plan could change your taxes based on your property value.
Someone with a home worth $75,000 would pay about $3.19 cents more per month. The owner of a $1 million home would pay about $125 more.
Jim Scheurich, an Indiana University Purdue University-Indianapolis education professor who dropped out of the school board race due to an injury, said that he “fully expects people to vote it down.”
Depsite the forums, Scheurich said he’s not satisfied with the district’s transparency. He is also a part of a group called the IPS Community Coalition.
“We’ve talked to the superintendent. We’ve sent in the questions. For the most part we’re not getting answers to the questions,” Scheurich said.
Scheurich said one of his questions is how much more would teachers make if the plan passes?
Vane said it’s too early to say and collective bargaining will determine salaries.
“The support for IPS teachers is very strong and IPS is committed to helping teachers stay in the district,” Vane said.
The Vote Yes For IPS PAC said the district has struggled through funding cuts over the past decade and, if the vote fails, the district could forced to lay off hundreds of teachers.
Another public forum will be 6 p.m. Oct. 18 at Southeast Community Services, 901 Shelby St.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis Public Schools on Friday provided new information about the future of two former IPS high schools.
The district said it had begun accepting ‘request for lease’ proposals for John Marshall and Broad Ripple high schools.
The two schools were closed after the 2017-2018 school year when the district restructured to save money.
A district spokesperson on Friday said any eligible nonprofit with a civic or public purpose can participate in the process — that includes charter schools and other community-based organizations.
All submissions are due Oct. 11.
The district said its board of commissioners hopes to make a final decision on the properties by the summer of 2019.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Thousands of images and documents covering more than 150 years of the history of Indianapolis Public Schools were released on Friday as part of the Indianapolis Public Library’s Digital Indy collection.
The materials, which date back to 1853, include newsletters, yearbooks, board meeting minutes and scrapbooks and staff biographies, as well as photos of students and school staff.
Among the collection are more than 10,000 issues of Shortridge High School’s Daily Echo newspaper, where former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar and author Kurt Vonnegut Jr. both wrote and served as editors.
The project was completed with the help of a $1.8 million grant from Lilly Endowment.
Click here to see the digital archive.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis Public Schools is hosting two community meetings on plans to dig the district out of their financial troubles. The first, called a “community conversation” by the district, started at 6 p.m. Monday.
The district aims to discuss potential cost-cutting changes with parents and stakeholders.
One topic of discussion: a plan proposed by the Indy Chamber last week that recommends reducing IPS teaching staff by 12 percent by not replacing every teacher who leaves. The plan also suggests eliminating buses for high schoolers and raising property taxes.
The goal is to take care of the district’s $319 million deficit over the next eight years.
“I would like to see more teachers,” IPS mom Kimberly Crowe said. “I think that will get the kids more under control.”
IPS Superintendent Lewis Ferebee said the district is not sold on all of the chamber proposals. He said he wants to talk to the district’s stakeholders about the ideas.
“For example, we have not had conversations with high school parents and whether or not IndyGo would be the primary solution for families and if that would be suitable,” Ferebee said.
IPS said Monday’s meeting will touch on Indy Chamber proposals and other ideas to address financial needs.
IPS referenda will be on the ballot this November.
“I think there will be a balance between what the business community has asked us and the chamber has reported to do in terms of reduction and what we believe is realistic,” Ferebee said.
The next meeting is Tuesday at 6 p.m. at IPS headquarters.
The school board will hold a public hearing and is expected to vote on a dollar amount for a referendum.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – There are two more meetings about an operating referendum for Indianapolis Public Schools.
Those meetings are scheduled to happen Monday and Tuesday evening.
IPS Superintendent Dr. Lewis Ferebee stopped by Daybreak Monday.
He talked about the capital referendum and how to make your voice and opinion heard on the matter.
For more on this story, click on the video.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis Public Schools officials are considering offering new sports in addition to what’s customary at the district’s schools, as an effort to increase student participation in athletics.
Jamal Smith, IPS district athletic director, believes more sports involvement at the grade school level could provide a solution to several problems IPS and other school districts face.
“Higher participation in sports increases graduation rates, GPAs go up, attendance goes up, dropout rates go down,” said Smith. ” Some research even points to teenage pregnancy decreasing, kids experimenting with drugs and alcohol, that decreases.”
Smith is preparing to send out online surveys to students and parents to gauge their interest in several sports that might be off the beaten track.
“We did a preliminary survey, and some of the sports that popped out were boxing and rugby and lacrosse and gymnastics,” he said.
IPS isn’t prepared to roll out new sporting programs just yet. Smith says they want to ensure they have the student interest and also explore their options for bringing on new coaches, re-purposing existing facilities and funding uniforms and equipment.
Just last year, IPS closed three high schools and one middle school to save about $7 million in a belt-tightening budget move. Smith says while he wasn’t planning to expand IPS Athletics before the consolidation, it’s more feasible to add new sports options to four high schools instead of seven.
“With the sheer consolidation, you’re going to have more students in a consolidated space, so you get more participation and a more competitive atmosphere, which we’re looking forward to,” he said.
Smith says if students show interest, the district will make it happen, including partnering with universities, renting out their facilities for extra money and working with corporate partnerships.
“By pure definition of us being an inner-city school district, that’s one thing we do have in our favor is we’re in the inner city. So it’s location, location, location,” Smith said.
New sports may take months or years to develop at IPS and will most likely begin as club or intramural sports that could become varsity athletic opportunities. Smith says this initiative should also reach the K-8 grades in the form of club sports, which could become feeder teams for the high school varsity versions.
If you want to support the district’s initiative, IPS is hiring coaches for their fall and winter traditional sports. Learn more here.
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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis Public Schools’ superintendent is explaining why he believes the district needs a near billion dollar tax over eight years.
In the proposal, $92 million every year for eight years would go to teacher raises, expanding school programs and support for special needs students.
Another $200 million would go to renovating buildings and upgrading classroom technology. That adds up to $936 million.
The cost for you depends on your home’s property value. It would be about a $350 increase for a home valued at $123,000.
Superintendent Lewis Ferebee said it’s an investment in the future of Indianapolis.
You have a lot of time to mull things over. It will be on the ballot as a referendum in the May 2018 election. He said IPS needs to become more competitive in keeping its teachers.
Ferebee says it can be tough to keep teachers at this time because of salaries in surrounding districts. This plan would give teachers a two percent raise.
He said there are also buildings in desperate need of repairs and safety improvements with new lighting.
Parents have expressed mixed reactions on social media to the proposal.
Ferebee said he looks at it as a dollar a day to improve education for the typical family.
“We believe that’s a smart investment, particularly with the capital improvements. If we don’t make those improvements now, it will cost more later,” he said. “If we don’t have quality educators, we aren’t able to deliver the best education. If we aren’t able to deliver the best education for our students and families, I believe we will be challenged with other issues down the road.”
A few parents on Facebook asked if the IPS administration would take pay cuts to help fund these expenses. Ferebee said they haven’t had substantial increases to their salaries in some time but that they’re considering all options.
Ferebee said he’s not concerned about more families leaving due to higher taxes, even though declining enrollment has been a problem in the past.
You can voice your opinion at two public hearings in December. They will both be at 6 p.m. — on Dec. 12 and Dec. 14 at the John Morton-Finney Center for Educational Services, which is located at 120 E. Walnut St. in Indianapolis.