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South Bend Schools hears comments on Focus 2018

SOUTH BEND, Ind.—Two weeks after South Bend Schools announced plans to shake up the corporation, the public spoke their minds at a public forum on Monday.

The proposed plans for Focus 2018 got many people talking, and the school board took the opportunity to listen to their comments and concerns.

Many people said they are excited that something is finally being done to combat the school’s issues. But, with so much change there are lot of questions and doubts, too.

Ensuring every South Bend student is given the resources to thrive was a goal expressed by everyone in the room. From the board members, to parents voicing concerns at the mic, to the audience expressing their agreeance with the raise of a hand.

With the same goal in mind, some community members expressed concerns that Focus 2018 simply wouldn’t help every student thrive.

The plan calls for neighborhood redistricting. It could be a solution to longtime transportation woes. But, thousands of students might have to change schools.

“I believe who is going to suffer is these children who are successful at these schools and then they’re ripped out and well you go here because it’s easier to bus these kids there and I just feel like I will not stay here, I will not stay here if they are not allowed to stay at the school we love,” says parent of Darden Primary students Dori Gosz.

The change hasn’t been approved by the Department of Justice yet. As long as they approve that it’s in compliance with the consent agreement, the school board will be able to vote on the plan.

Passionate Perley parents were also up in arms. The proposal suggests merging the fine arts school with Nuner Primary.

“I think with proper marketing and a little bit more investment, I think it could really become the shining star that us parents know it to be,” says Willow Witherall, parent of Perley students.

No decisions will be made just yet. But, the board says the public outreach is giving them a lot to think about.

“We have a lot of work to do, we can pass the plan as is, we can do nothing, however we can make some modifications or amendments,” says School Board President Stan Wruble.

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