Creek Point Academy withdraws bid to open in Andrew J. Brown location on Indianapolis’ Far Eastside

A sign that reads "Andrew J. Brown Academy" and "Bienvenidos Andrew J. Brown Academy," sits on a green lawn with cars and grey sky in the background.
A sign outside Andrew J. Brown Academy, a charter school in Indianapolis, Indiana on Fri., Jan. 12, 2024. (Amelia Pak-Harvey / Chalkbeat)

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The Creek Point Academy charter school that sought to push out Andrew J. Brown Academy and open in the same building has withdrawn its bid to open in the fall on the Far Eastside.

The decision pauses a potential battle over students and staff between the two schools that began when the K-8 Andrew J. Brown moved to drop its for-profit operator, National Heritage Academies, over concerns with financial transparency, staff turnover, poor academic performance, and an overall lack of local control. In response, a new school board moved to create NHA-operated K-8 Creek Point Academy.

But Creek Point withdrew its application for a charter with the Indiana Charter School Board when its school board learned that it would not be approved for the 2024-25 school year, an NHA spokesperson said in a statement. The school was expected to be on the ICSB agenda this week. Instead, the board is exploring a charter application for the 2025-26 school year with the same authorizer based on feedback received during the application process.

“While waiting one more year is disappointing, the school board remains committed to providing educational opportunities to the students and families it will serve for the long-term,” the NHA statement read.

Now, families of the roughly 570 students at Andrew J. Brown will need to decide whether to stay with the school, run by a different operator at a new location. (The school has been operating on a temporary agreement with NHA that ends this school year, according to its board chair).

NHA owns the building that Andrew J. Brown has occupied since opening in 2003, and is also the employer for current Andrew J. Brown staff. Andrew J. Brown, however, has legal authority to run a public charter school with a charter from the mayor’s Office of Education Innovation.

Andrew J. Brown plans to partner with the local nonprofit Paramount Schools of Excellence operator and continue operating the school at a new location if negotiations with NHA to continue to lease the space ultimately fail, Rich Hailey, Andrew J. Brown’s board chair, previously told Chalkbeat.

In a May 23 letter to parents, Hailey and Tommy Reddicks of Paramount Schools wrote that Andrew J. Brown’s potential new location will be the former Indianapolis Public Schools Forest Manor Middle School at 4501 E. 32nd St., where the charter school HIM By HER operated in before closing in the middle of the 2022-23 school year. Transportation will be provided to the new location, and families don’t need additional paperwork to stay enrolled, per the letter. The school leaders said they have not stopped asking NHA to allow the school to stay in the building.

But NHA said in its statement that it is not in negotiations with the Andrew J. Brown board regarding the building.

“Should the [Andrew J. Brown] board decide it wants to continue a partnership with NHA to operate a school in the current location, we have indicated to them we are open to that,” the spokesperson said.

Hailey previously told Chalkbeat that Andrew J. Brown would host informational sessions for students and staff at the school about the situation. The school’s board also plans to offer jobs to current classroom faculty but will replace the school’s administration.

This story has been updated to include a letter to parents from Andrew J. Brown Academy about the school’s location.

Amelia Pak-Harvey covers Indianapolis and Lawrence Township schools for Chalkbeat Indiana. Contact Amelia at apak-harvey@chalkbeat.org.

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