Friday, May 7, 2010

Independent Charter School to Lease Space of Terminated Decatur Discovery Academy Charter School

Thanks for this tip from yet another alert commenter to this blog.

The Indy Star is reporting that a newly organized Charter School that revolves around the theme of aerospace, will be subletting space in the Mitchell Building left empty by the departure of the Decatur Discovery Academy (DDA). Although the Decatur School Board has not yet voted on the matter, does anyone expect any 'no' votes at any time, whether they are warranted by good sense or not? In this case it does make sense.

As background, the Decatur Schools district entered into a long term lease for space in the Mitchell Building; some of the space to be for the DDA. The lease agreement is in effect until 2013. [edited on 5-8-10 : the lease agreement is actually in effect until June 30, 2016] As noted back in January, the blog entry "The Mitchell Building Drains Funds From Decatur School District", the DDA space alone costs the district $265,501 a year. There is no mention in either the Indy Star article, nor on the IndyGov Charter Schools webpages about any terms of the sublet.

Star reporter, Gretchen Becker, notes in her article that the new charter will slowly increase the number of grades served.

"Our goal is to become one of the outstanding academic schools in the United States," said Roger Tomey, a pilot and the school's executive director. "We want to make sure when they get accepted to a university that they get that degree."

The school will start with seventh-graders when it opens Aug. 2. It will add a grade level each year up through 12th grade, said Principal Marie Theobald.

The rigorous curriculum focusing on reading comprehension, as well as critical and analytical thinking skills, will start at the middle school level to prepare students for intensive science, technology and math courses as well as college-credit opportunities, Theobald said.
and she quotes MSD Decatur spokesman, Gary Pellico
As soon as the legal paperwork is completed, the School Board should vote on the issue, Pellico said.
The newly chartered school has the following information posted on the Indy.Gov charter school website:
Indiana Aerospace Jr./Sr. High School has an educational model unlike any other in the state of Indiana. The model infuses aviation and aerospace themes into a rigorous science, technology, engineering, and mathematics curriculum. All students will complete a Core 40 with Academic Honors curriculum. The curriculum will provide students the opportunity to engage in multidisciplinary projects, enroll in dual-credit classes with Vincennes University, Purdue University and Indiana State University, and work in internships with local aerospace industry firms.

Upon graduating, students will each total more than 300 hours of shadow experiences and internships with local aerospace industry firms, giving them vital hands-on experience and knowledge prior to furthering their education at the post-secondary level.

Grades served: 7th grade for 2010-2011 school year (will eventually serve grades 7-12 at capacity)
Will open in Fall 2010
Mr. Roger Tomey - Executive Director
Phone: 317.605.4044
Address: To be determined

Board Members: Mr. Vern Bothwell, Mr. Kevin Cline, Ms. Helen Crawford, Mr. Rodney Fuller, Mr. Mike Gehrich, Dr. Steve Matthies, Mr. Albert Moore, Mr. Alex Murphy, Mr. James Newton, Mr. John Nichols

As you can see, this new charter is not affiliated with MSD Decatur Township schools and their Administrators. That is definitely a plus for them. Their sublet of the DDA space will help the district financially and could save roughly 5 RIFed teacher positions. We shall see how the Administration actually apportions the savings.


Anonymous said...

DDA and DEC are not going anywhere,one of two things will happen over the summer. 1. central office will move across Kentucky Av and DDA and DEC will move into the old central office, 2. DDA and DEC will take over the ECC building. any bets on that??????????

Anonymous said...

Maybe one of those persons who believe this is a negative blog will provide factual information regarding the location for DDA, DEC, and the central administration? Do any parents, employees, or students know where these students and elementary students are to be assigned next year? When was input gathered from the community? Look forward to reading this information.

Had Enough Indy? said...

anon 4:19 - I didn't mean that the alternative school would disappear, just it's status as a Charter school would be terminated. I have heard both theories you mention as to where the DDA and DEC will be relocated.

Anonymous said...

Why all of the relocation and how much will it cost?

Had Enough Indy? said...

anon 9:19 - excellent questions. The administration says it costs $265,501 to keep the DDA in the Mitchell Building. One would hope they would find a cost effective way to move out. But the ongoing expense would be the motivating factor for the move.

The termination of the Charter could give the district a few more dollars in state funds - if the vast majority of the students were from Decatur anyway.

Anonymous said...

Ooh...a whole school that values science and doesn't just pay lip service. I know several teachers that would love to work there!