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Local groups give low marks to most Indianapolis Public Schools Board candidates

Hayleigh Colombo

Three local organizations that have vocally criticized the current Indianapolis Public Schools Board might not like next year’s board much either.

The groups, including the NAACP, the Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis and OurIPS, a new website founded by critics of the board, this week released report cards on all of the candidates running for seats on the IPS board — and nearly everyone received low marks.

All 10 candidates, including three incumbents and seven challengers, were graded based on their responses to questions posed during a series of forums that were hosted over the summer and in questionnaires that were distributed by OurIPS.

Each of the 10 candidates vying for four seats on the IPS board this November were graded on six measures: student achievement; school discipline/safety; support for the traditional public school model; accountability; recruiting/retaining high-quality employees; and transparency/communication with stakeholders.

Most candidates received low marks in most of the categories including all three incumbents — Diane Arnold, Sam Odle and Michael O’Connor — who received D’s for their responses to questions about student achievement and discipline/safety and F’s on every other measure.

The only candidates who earned A’s on any part of the report cards were Ramon Batts, an IPS parent running for a seat on the north east side currently held by Gayle Cosby (who is not running for reelection), and Jim Grim, an advocate of community and school partnerships who is running for an at-large seat held by Sam Odle.

Batts received an A for his commitment to transparency and communication, and Grim received A’s for his support for transparency and communication, accountability and the traditional public school model.

For reports on the full slate of candidates, including Christine Prince, Nanci Lacy, Venita Moore, Elizabeth Gore and Larry Vaughn, here’s the press release.

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