Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v14n11)
Editorial - The Case for BRHS
posted: May 26, 2017
Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) recently announced that a task force has recommended the closure of three of the seven Indianapolis high schools. There have been many rumors swirling about that Broad Ripple High School (BRHS) is high on the list for closure. I decided to make the case for BRHS. This isn't an editorial against the other six schools. It is for BRHS.
Broad Ripple High School - our neighborhood school since 1886.
The task force report states that 4 million dollars can be saved each year by closing three schools. That may sound like a lot, but it is only 1.7% of the IPS annual budget. Disrupting three neighborhoods and hundreds of student's lives to save 1.7% seems drastic. One suggestion at a public meeting was to move IPS administration to the high schools and close the downtown building. That downtown real estate would be valuable.
We need to invest in the north side of Indy to continue the recent growth spurt. We should take the successes of schools 84 and 59 and use those ideas to improve BRHS. Make it a showcase for IPS that attracts families to the area, rather than close it and abandon the future.
1) The north side is growing. Apartments are being built at a record pace, which will bring more and more school-age families into the neighborhood. BRHS is the only north side IPS high school. Now is the time to reach out those families and show them what IPS has to offer, instead of sending unintended messages by closing schools near them. Let's not give up on the north side of Indy. Sure, it will be a few years until the high school age population grows, but lets give them something to grow into, in their neighborhood. I overheard at one of the public meetings that it is too expensive to bus students up to the north side on Indy. Broad Ripple is not that far from downtown and has wonderful facilities. The small cost saving isn't worth leaving behind an important north side school.
2) The facilities. BRHS is an Arts and Humanities magnet school with a tremendous legacy. The Gene Poston Auditorium was dedicated in 2011. It has served the surrounding community as its only professional theater auditorium with a full orchestra pit in the area. This auditorium should be rented out for other local theater troupes and music groups that don't have a permanent home of their own. There is plenty of parking at the school to handle performances of all sizes and kinds.
The arts sections of the BRHS building have ample band and orchestra rehearsal halls, dance studios, a black box theater, and private lesson rooms.
The gym was added in the late 1980s and seats 3522 fans.
Classrooms have been added on to over the years and modernized.
Currently, new wi-fi and networking is being installed.
Dieterich Field (named after coach Ed Dieterich) is where the Rockets and many other non-IPS teams play football. Renting the field to other groups is another income generator.
3) Ripple support. Dedicated alumni in the BRHS Alumni Association gave out $11,000 in scholarships this year alone. This adds to the $12,000 given out previously.
At the recent Ripple Round Up scholarships from several other local groups were awarded to students. The Frank Baird Hall of Fame gave out $21,000 this year in scholarships to BRHS students.
BRHS has been a key part of the north side of Indianapolis since 1886. It has grown in amazing ways over that 130 years. Let's not abandon the progress that has been accomplished. Please keep Ripple open!