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Kelly Bentley makes it official: She’s running for IPS school board

Kelly Bentley, a Democrat who supports school choice and other education reforms, officially announced today she will seek to be elected again this fall to the Indianapolis Public School Board.

Bentley said her goals — a quality school in every neighborhood, promoting school autonomy, and enhancing financial efficiency — inspired her to return to school board politics. She left the board in 2010 after 12 years as a frequent critic of the district’s leadership during Eugene White’s superintendency.

Kelly Bentley

Kelly Bentley

Bentley is seeking to reclaim her old District 3 seat, which is currently occupied by Samantha Adair-White, who said Tuesday she has not yet decided whether to run for a second term on the board. The filing deadline is Aug. 22. The election is Nov. 4.

“It’s no secret that when I served on the board before, I was a bit of an agitator,” said Bentley, who is an IPS graduate and parent. “I believed the district should be more transparent and could be doing more to reach its potential and meet student needs. Now I want to serve on the board to work with IPS Superintendent Lewis Ferebee to implement a shared vision for a modern, urban school district that’s poised for success in the 21st century.”

Bentley helped start a local chapter of Democrats for Education Reform, a national group that pushes for school choice, school and teacher accountability systems, and the national Common Core State Standards. She also helped in 2012 on the IPS school board election campaigns for current board members Caitlin Hannon and Gayle Cosby.

Under Ferebee’s leadership, Bentley said she feels the district is going in the right direction once again and wants to be a part of that.

“I get the feeling that there’s a new attitude about the need for change in the district,” Bentley said. “That’s what excites me about going back on the board, to help move forward a lot of the ideas that seem to be percolating. (Ferebee) seems to have a willingness to think outside the box.”

Terms are expiring for two other board members, Annie Roof and Michael Brown. Both have announced plans to seek re-election. Former state Rep. Mary Ann Sullivan has said she is considering challenging Roof, who serves as board president, for an at-large seat on the board. Sullivan said Tuesday she still intends to run and expects to formally announce the launch of her campaign soon.