School 27 is one of the Indianapolis schools given autonomy in a pilot program. Photo: Alan Petersime/Chalkbeat
Given power over her school budget by Indianapolis Public Schools, Principal Tihesha Guthrie decided to increase class sizes to fund counselors and add 30 minutes to the school day, reports Chalkbeat. By adding five students per class, the elementary school was able to hire a “discipline specialist, a math coach and a teacher who specialized in teaching social skills like relationship building and self-control,” reports Dylan Peers McCoy.
School 99 was one of just six schools that piloted the district’s new “autonomy” program this year in which principals were given a set amount of cash per student and allowed to spend the money in any way they thought made sense for their school.
The program will expand to all district schools next year, writes McCoy. “Principals will have full control over their main general education budgets,” while the district will pay for special-needs students.
Guthrie said fewer students are being sent to the principal’s office for discipline problems and attendance has improved significantly.