Jason Kloth

Indiana

Monument Lighthouse charter school will close this spring

Monument Lighthouse Charter School is on Indianapolis' northeast side near Lawrence Township. The Indianapolis governing board that oversees two Lighthouse charter schools informed parents Thursday that the Monument Lighthouse school will close at year's end. The board decided the school, at 4002 Franklin Road, had not made enough progress toward the academic goals it established for itself upon opening in 2007, according to Deputy Mayor Jason Kloth. Another school operated by the board will absorb students from Monument Lighthouse, and the city will also help find spots in other schools for the 607 students who will be displaced by the closure. Charter schools are operated by arrangements that can be complex, and Lighthouse is no exception. The two Indianapolis schools are sponsored by Mayor Greg Ballard, who is responsible for monitoring their progress and can decide to close them if they don't meet performance targets. Charter schools are directly guided, however, by local boards of citizens. In this case, that local board oversees two schools — Monument Lighthouse and Indianapolis Lighthouse — and picked an out-of-state company to manage it. That company, Massachusetts-based Lighthouse Academies hires the principal and employs the staff at both schools. The company has a 20-school network in eight states. The Monument school was due for a decision from Ballard's charter school office as to whether it would earn a renewal of hits charter to keep operating at the end of the school year. By deciding to close on its own, the school made that decision instead of the mayor. Kloth said it was a "responsible" decision by the school's board and that the mayor's office supported it. "We have a shared belief it is in the best interest of students in the short term and in the longer term broadly," Kloth said.