The pro-reform parent organizing group Stand for Children is endorsing three incumbent Indianapolis Public Schools Board members and one newcomer in the upcoming election, setting the stage for a showdown between critics and supporters of the current administration.
The endorsement could come with big benefits for the chosen candidates.
Stand played a significant role in the last board election two year ago, leading a campaign to elect its chosen candidates that included sending mailers and hiring workers to promote candidates outside polls on Election Day. All three candidates it endorsed won seats.
The candidates endorsed by Stand include incumbents Diane Arnold (who represents District 4 on the southwest side), Michael O’Connor (who represents District 1 on the east side) and Sam Odle (who holds an at-large seat).
They also endorsed newcomer Venita Moore, a principal with an Indianapolis-based business consulting firm. Moore attended IPS schools and her daughter graduated from Crispus Attucks High School. Moore is running for a seat in District 2 that runs northeast of downtown. It is currently held by Gayle Cosby, who is not running for reelection.
Stand is the local chapter of a national parent organizing group that leads parent empowerment classes and brings parents together to push for change at failing schools, such as a recent campaign to improve John Marshall.
The endorsements were chosen by a committee of parents and community members based on candidates responses to a questionnaire.
Stand’s endorsements come in sharp contrast to candidate report cards released earlier this week by three community groups that have been critical of the current board, including the NAACP and Concerned Clergy. The report cards gave low marks to all three incumbents. Only one candidate got a lower score — Venita Moore received F’s on nearly all of their measures.