Here in Indy, too many seats for too few children lead to school closings

By David McGuire

School closings are not always tied to performance. Recently an Indianapolis charter school only in its second year of operation closed its doors due to a lack of enrollment.

On August 7th, the day before the scheduled first day of school, Carpe Diem announced that the school would not be re-opening. The school was intended to hold 146 students, but only 79 enrolled this year.  

Carpe Diem Shadeland school was one of three Carpe Diem schools in Indianapolis. The model of the school was unique in that students had a cubicle space in addition to traditional classrooms.  The school was created to help homeschooled students transition to a small school for middle and high school.  

Like many charter schools with unique models, Carpe Diem targets students looking for an educational option that suits their specific needs.

The news broke of the school closing on a Sunday night, with school scheduled to start the next day on Monday. The school cited a lack of enrollment as the reason for their closing, but how long ago did they know that their enrollment numbers would fall short?

One of the things that is frustrating about charter schools is that networks try to expand and grow too quickly, before even considering possible worst-case scenarios.  Now the families of 76 students are in panic, frantic and unsure of what school their child will be attending.

I currently work in a charter school and have worked at others in the past, so I am pro-charter and pro-school choice, but there needs to be some serious conversations around slowing the approval of new charter schools in Indianapolis until we resolve the  issue of too many seats for too few school children.

Read more about the school closing on Fox59 here.

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David McGuire

Mr. McGuire is a middle school teacher in Indianapolis, Teach Plus Policy Fellow, and currently enrolled in a doctoral program at Indiana State University for Educational Leadership. Driven by the lack of having an African American male teacher in his classrooms growing up, David helped launched the Educate ME Foundation, which is geared towards increasing the number of African American male teachers in the classroom. A born and raised Hoosier, he is dedicated to improving educational outcomes for all students in Indianapolis. He describes his educational beliefs as a reformer grounded in the best practices of traditional public schools, where he was mentored by strong leaders. David graduated from Central State University with a degree in English and also holds an MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University.