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School board hears from community on "Focus 2018" plan

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Parents, teachers and neighbors took to Monday’s school board meeting to weigh in on a drastic shake up headed to South Bend Community Schools.

“This corporation over the past four years has been living on an overtime lifestyle while not making overtime and it can no longer afford to do that,” said one community member.

The corporation announced last week its “Focus 2018” plan that would see three school closures, among many other changes.

Monday, the school board heard from the community before plans are finalized in mid-December.

“I’m vested in this corporation, I believe in this corporation, I believe in this board, I believe in our superintendent and I believe in our teachers,” said parent Jasmine Brown.

Brown is one of many team South Bend members who voiced support, comments and concerns for the future of the district.

In order to address a loss of nearly 2000 students in 4 years, the corporation is hoping to “right-size” the district.

That means closing down three schools and restructuring three others.

That also means middle schools will focus on grades six through eight.

Schools across the board will also start at a later time.

“It’s going to take strong leadership, it’s going to take dedication by our board and superintendent to follow through with those plans, 100 percent,” said Brown.

Superintendent Kenneth Spells restated his administration’s dedication to that plan during Monday’s meeting.

He says after spending a year listening and doing an autopsy on the district, he wanted to put together a proposal that would address critical issues.

“We didn’t want to alarm people to soon, we wanted to make sure the plan was complete before we shared it,” said Spells.

There are six scheduled public hearings on Focus 2018:

November 21 – Perley Fine Arts at 5:30 p.m.

November 27 – Century Center at 5:30 p.m.

November 28 – Greene Intermediate 5:45 p.m.

November 29 – Brown Intermediate 5:45 p.m.

December 6 – Nuner Primary Center 5:30 p.m.

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