According to Superintendent Jeff Swensson, he is currently working on legislation for a proposed Performance Qualified School District bill with superintendents from other districts including Zionsville, Westfield, Noblesville, Munster and West Laffayette. The bill will give more freedom to state school districts who already meet the state’s ten year goals.
“For districts like us who are already there, and seek to always improve and in other words make… excellence, we believe that Performance Qualified School District designation will open doors to allow us to continue and expand our pursuit of emerging excellence,” he said.
According to Swensson, the new legislation would allow for some “regulatory relief” for the district, including some relief that is already granted instantly to charter schools. This, Swensson said, would level the playing field in terms of academic outcome and potential for excellence.
“We’re not interested in being a charter school, we are interested in being the Carmel Clay Schools, but what we’re interested in is (friendly) competition,” he said. “Charter schools receive regulatory relief even if they haven’t delivered anything academically to any student; it’s just automatic. In this case of Performance Qualified School Districts, I believe its essential to battle for (equality) as an academic outcome. We think we can intentionally grow and intentionally pursue excellence in ways we think are not currently possible.”
Junior Spencer Satz believes that relief from some of the state standards would benefit the district greatly, particularly the younger students, but still the legislation needs to be passed.
Swensson, who has met with state legislators including Representative Jerry Torr, Senator Mike Delph and Senator Isaac Kinley, said that he hopes to introduce the bill when the state legislature convenes in January.
“I truly believe that if you set that kind of standard (for excellence) it’s all very deliberate,” he said. “Our intention as a school district is to always be excellent, to always grow.”