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Contributed By:The 411 News

DOE transfer report shows who benefits as students exit Gary schools

In 2018, a loss of more than 500 students caused Hammond’s school district to think about the future and last week the district took more drastic actions. Hammond closed 3 elementary schools at the end of the 2018-19 school year and just last week announced the closing of 2 high schools for the start of the 2021-22 school year.

Indiana’s Dept. of Education released its Fall semester Transfer Report for the 2019-20 school year. The report shows which school districts are keeping their students and which are not.

For each school corporation, the report counts the students who have legal residence --- DOE calls it settlement – in the school corporation but attend a public school, a charter school, or a private school using a Choice voucher that is maintained by another school corporation.

Charter and private schools do not have settlement since they don’t have residential boundaries.

As Indiana increases its push for charter schools and expands Choice vouchers, the Transfer Report helps school districts better understand the mobility of students living within their corporation boundaries.

Indiana released its first transfer report in the Fall semester of the 2017-18 school year.

Because 80-85 percent of a school district’s budget comes from state funds based on the number of students enrolled, districts want and need to keep its legally resident students. And many school districts have open enrollment and welcome students living outside their boundaries.

Looking at northwest Indiana, nowhere is student mobility more lopsided than in the Gary Community School Corp.

On the Fall membership count date in September, 11,952 students were reported with settlement in the Gary school district’s boundaries.

In the chart below from the Transfer Report, 7,051 of the 11,952 students attended a different traditional public school corporation or public charter school. Another 549 of the 11,952 students attended a private school using the Indiana Choice voucher. Those private schools are faith-based and operated by religious institutions.


Students residing in and transferring from the Gary Community School Corp

That is a total of 7,600 of Gary’s 11,952 students attending schools outside the district boundaries, leaving it with 4,352 students. The report said zero students living outside of the Gary school district boundaries transferred into the Gary Community School Corp.

Gary’s 7,600 students moving to other school districts show the district losing nearly $61 million dollars in the 2019-20 school year. That dollar amount is calculated from the $8,000 the district receives in state support per student.

Most of those 7,600 students – 5,770 – attend public charter schools. The majority of the charter schools are in Gary. Leading in this category are Charter School of the Dunes, Thea Bowman Leadership Academy, Gary Lighthouse Charter, 21st Century Charter, Aspire Charter, and Steel City Academy.

Gary students attending a public school outside of their home district totaled 1,226 of the 7,600. They headed to River Forest Community School Corp., School City of Hammond and Edison Learning in Gary. Edison Learning operates Gary’s Theodore Roosevelt High which was carved out of GCSC boundaries after the state takeover in 2012.

These schools have open enrollment, allowing students outside of their boundaries to attend. Union School Corporation in downstate Modoc operates a virtual or online school and enrolled 124 of the transfer students. The DOE also categorizes these transfers as parent choice.

Private schools run by religious institutions enrolled 549 of the 7,600 students. Ambassador Christian Academy in Gary pulled 138 of the students; the remainder went to religious schools in other municipalities.

To view the Fall 2019-2020 Public Corporation Transfer Report, along with prior reports, visit: www.doe.in.gov/accountability/find-school-and-corporation-data-reports. Scroll down to the Public Corporation Transfer Report section, then download the report to your computer.

For more information regarding the Transfer Report, visit: www.doe.in.gov/sites/default/files/accountability/transfer-report-faqs.pdf.

The Indiana Dept. of Education will release its next transfer report in Spring 2020.

Story Posted:11/26/2019

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