Audio Included in Post. Runs 26 Minutes ©2011 WTLC/Radio One. EXCLUSIVE REPORT: Last week, IPS vowed not to enroll students living in IPS neighborhoods who start school at charter schools then transfer back to IPS. To see the scope of this problem, WTLC-AM1310’s Afternoons with Amos program requested official enrollment data from the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE).

Our analysis discovered:

  • Just 1.3% of Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) enrollment are students from Indianapolis’ charter schools who transfer after official student enrollment data for funding is conducted.
  • Charter transfers comprise just 1.3% of IPS’ state student funding.
  • Nearly one-in-nine IPS students (10.9%) transferred to other schools or left the system after the funding count day.
  • Nearly one-in-seven Indianapolis charter school students (13.7%) transferred to other schools or left the system after the funding count day.
  • Most charter transfers went to schools other than IPS; only 30% of charter transfers moved to an IPS school.
  • IPS’ enrollment as of May 11, 2011 was 2% higher than its official count enrollment in mid-September.  Several other Indianapolis township districts also reported higher enrollments now than at the start of the school year.

Afternoons with Amos obtained data from the Indiana Department of Education’s new “real time” enrollment database. This system, implemented this school year, allows the state to know exact enrollment information, including migration and transfer of students between districts in real time during the year. The period covered in the analysis is from mid-September 2010, to May 11, 2011.

Just 1.3% of IPS’ enrollment are transfers from Indianapolis’ charter schools who transfer to IPS after official student enrollment data for funding is conducted. Data supplied by the state shows that since the mid-September 2010 official funding enrollment count, 425 students transferred from Indianapolis’ twenty-seven charters schools back to IPS.  That represents just 1.32% of IPS’ total official enrollment of 32,197.

IPS Superintendent Dr. Eugene White spoke of the funding loss charter school transfers has on IPS; but in reality, the dollars lost would account for just 1.3% of IPS’ total direct student funding.

The 425 charter students who transferred to IPS are a minority of the total number of charter transfers since the September funding date. Another 975 students transferred from charters to other schools in Indiana during this school year.

A greater percentage of charter students’ transfer from their schools after the funding count day than transfer from IPS.

Of the 10,214 enrolled in Indianapolis charter schools, 1,400 transferred out after the funding count day. That represents 13.7% of all charter students; nearly one-in-seven.

But that percentage is comparable to what occurred in IPS during the same period. Of the official enrollment of IPS, 3,501 transferred to other schools or left the system after the funding count day. That’s fully 10.9%, nearly one-in-nine IPS students.

Afternoons with Amos’ analysis of real time enrollment data also confirms something IPS officials have been saying for years. That IPS gains enrollment as the school year progresses.

As of May 11th, IPS’ enrollment was an estimated 32,853. During this school year, IPS saw 4,137 students transfer in; with 3,501 transferring out. That left IPS with a net gain of 656 during the school year; or 2.0% of total official enrollment.

Of the other school districts in the city/county, Lawrence, Wayne, Pike and Perry Township along with Speedway schools saw their enrollment increase during the school year, according to IDOE’s “real time” data.

Most of the city’s charter schools report lower enrollment now than September’s official count. Only Flanner House, Monument Lighthouse, Andrew Academy, Padua Academy and The Indianapolis Project School have higher attendance now than in September.

Individually, many Indianapolis charter schools see similar percentages of student transfers as IPS or charters as a whole.

Among the charters with the highest transfers percentages: Fall Creek Academy 18.5%; Paramount School of Excellence 22%; Fountain Square Academy 20.4%; Indiana Math & Science North 18.1%; and KIPP 19.8%.

The charters with the lowest transfer percentages are: Challenge Foundation Academy 2.7%; Padua Academy and Flanner House 3.8% each; Christel House Academy 5.2%

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