RELEASE: INDIANAPOLIS CITY/COUNTY COUNCIL 2014 BUDGET PRIORITIES

August 15, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 15, 2013

Contact:
Denise Herd
317-796-0514
email: denise@herdstrategies.com

INDIANAPOLIS – MARION COUNTY CITY-COUNTY COUNCIL 2014 BUDGET PRIORITIES

FROM PRESIDENT MAGGIE A. LEWIS AND
VICE PRESIDENT JOHN BARTH

INDIANAPOLIS – On Aug. 19, 2013, Mayor Ballard will present the sixth budget of his administration, the 2014 spending plan, to the Indianapolis City-County Council. This presentation will kick off the challenging process of crafting the new budget. As the 2014 budget deliberations begin in earnest, it is important for the Mayor and City-County Council to make their priorities clear. Looking ahead to the needs of the city in 2014 and beyond, we have listened carefully to our constituents and will adopt a budget that aligns spending with the critical needs of residents living in neighborhoods all across Indianapolis.

We make this commitment to our citizens: We will continue to listen carefully to your input and every neighborhood will get city government’s full attention.

Our priorities for 2014 include:

Solve the Public Safety Crisis Now:

The Council will continue to make identifying resources to add needed IMPD officers a top priority. Public safety is the number one quality of life issue for residents. By the city’s own estimates, the IMPD is nearly 700 officers short for a city of our size. This is devastating for both the morale of IMPD and for underserved neighborhoods that are seeing firsthand the results of this staffing crisis.

Abandoned property and land is a serious problem in Indianapolis neighborhoods. Not only are these abandoned properties a blight, they attract criminal behavior that can further harm neighborhoods. The Council will push for the development of a comprehensive solution to address the pervasive problem of abandoned houses.

Engaged residents are critical to keeping the city safe and the Council will continue to invest in community-based crime prevention efforts.

Make Neighborhood Development and Services a Priority:

The Council will work to ensure that our parks – important community assets – have the funding they need to serve as a positive place for families to gather. In recent years the Indy Parks budget has suffered disproportionally with pool closings and programming reductions. Parks are essential to keeping neighborhoods strong – from providing young children a place to learn to swim to serving as a place for teenagers to enjoy healthy and safe activities. In short – parks matter.

The Council will seek additional funding to ensure the Indianapolis Library system is on firm footing for 2014 and beyond. Our libraries are much more than a place to borrow a CD or a book. They are a source of community pride, serving as a hub for neighborhood association meetings, job search resources, and opportunities for lifelong learning.

Focus on Education:

Strong schools are the key to Indianapolis’ future and a good education should not be dependent on zip code. Because nine entities can charter schools in Indianapolis, the city has seen a fractured approach to planning new charter schools with two charter schools within blocks of each other on North Meridian Street. The Council’s Community Affairs Committee is taking the lead in working with charter authorizers to ensure that neighborhoods are part of the planning and selection process for new charters and the locations where they will be operated.

As we move to advance the 2014 budget, the Indianapolis City-County Council will focus on these priorities – public safety, neighborhoods, and education. We also look forward to a thoughtful and reasoned discussion with Mayor Ballard about his priorities in the coming weeks.

During this budget process we encourage residents to contact your City-County Councillors and let them know what budget priorities matter to you and your neighbors. To learn more, please visit the Council website on indy.gov.

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Charter School Authorizer Accountability the Focus of Community Affairs Committee Meeting

August 4, 2013

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Charter School Authorizer Accountability the Focus of Community Affairs Committee Meeting

Indianapolis – The City-County Council’s Community Affairs Committee will meet on August 15 to discuss charter school authorizers, whose role is to approve and oversee charter schools. Currently, nine entities across Indiana are able to authorize schools in Indianapolis, including Ball State University, the Indiana Charter School Board, the Indianapolis Mayor’s Office and others.

As more authorizers have come online in the last few years, some concerns have been raised that the growing number of authorizers could diminish the high quality of charters in Indianapolis. The committee will discuss those concerns and potential solutions.

“The promise of charter schools is accountability that leads to better results for kids,” said Community Affairs Committee Chairman John Barth. “The goal of this meeting is to consider how to ensure that only the highest quality schools are operating in our city.”

The meeting will include a panel discussion featuring local and national education leaders:

Amos Brown, Director of Strategic Research, Host, Manager & Editor, Radio One
Amanda Fenton, Director of State and Federal Policy, National Association of Charter School Authorizers
Caitlin Hannon, Commissioner, Indianapolis Public Schools Board
David Harris, Founder & CEO, The Mind Trust
Terry Ryan, Vice President for Ohio Programs & Policy, Thomas B. Fordham Institute

All interested citizens are encouraged to attend.

Date: Thursday, August 15, 2013
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Location: Library Services Center, 2450 North Meridian Street

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