By Dan Domsic
The race to a May 7 vote that will determine the fate of the Hamilton Southeastern School District’s planned senior academies has started.
Last week, Maintaining Excellence, a political action committee that will inform about and promote the projects, held an informational meeting at the Fall Creek Township Office that included a presentation on the academies by Supt. Dr. Brian Smith and CFO Mike Reuter.
“I think our schools are the biggest thing we have to support our community right now,” Kevin Clasen, Maintaining Excellence chairperson, said.
The proposed $95-million project will provide space at Hamilton Southeastern High School and Fishers High School for a large crop of students working their way through the school system now, according to Smith and Reuter.
“This is not about doing something glitzy or something that we don’t really need to do, this is about capacity,” Smith said. “It’s that simple.”
The new classrooms will feature a set up and furniture tailored toward project-based learning and are described as “learning hubs.”
Each academy will have a living-learning center with soft and hard seating – in other words, a less formal atmosphere – that will be open to all students in the evening, according to Smith.
In addition to the new facilities, students will have the opportunity to pursue any one of approximately 22 career pathways, earning college credit along the way.
Smith said teachers at the schools were getting certified as adjunct professors, and steps were being taken so credits students earn could be applied to Purdue, Ball State and Indiana universities.
For certain classes, students will learn via high definition interactive video with professors, but traditional classes will still be offered.
Clasen said the financial goal of the PAC was to raise about $15,000, with the hope of leaving some capital in the coffers for future referendums. A website and social media accounts are in the works.
The group currently has $2,800, and Jason Meyer will serve as the organization’s treasurer.
Meyer, a Fishers resident of 16 years, has kids that went through the school system, and he considers his PAC participation his way of repaying the schools.
If the referendum fails, Smith said the school district’s other option was to bring in portable classrooms, along with other portable needs like restrooms and cafeterias.