After vote to close Clay, community prepares for what’s next

NOW: After vote to close Clay, community prepares for what’s next

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind.-- A vote to adopt the South Bend Schools' Facilities Master Plan passed Monday night, which will officially close Clay High School. 

Perhaps not a surprise to many, the vote was still a shocking blow to some, like Clay parent Jennifer Fox.

"I'm crushed, I'm emotional, I'm disappointed," Fox said. "My husband was a colonial, his mother was a colonial, her siblings were colonials, my aunts and uncles were colonials. It's very rich in tradition. Many people, that's why they're still there, because their families were there, they bought homes in that area, they bought their family's homes in that area, to continue to send their kids to that school."

Fox said a group of advocates against closing Clay have hired an attorney to represent the township, and they may try and take legal action in the near future. 

"We're far from done, the community, I feel, has only gotten stronger," she said.  

While some are continuing to fight, and protest, the South Bend Community School Corporation (SBCSC) is full steam ahead. 

"We want to make sure that we build a really really really solid foundation for implementation,” said Kareemah Fowler, Assistant Superintendent of Business and Finance for SBCSC. “We want to build it with fidelity, we want to make sure it's thoughtful, and we want to make sure the community's involved in that."

After Monday's vote, implementation of the Facilities Master Plan starts right now, and first, the district needs to establish new boundaries. 

"The boundary process allows you to dig a little bit deeper into the neighborhoods, speak to the people, really look at, 'okay, where does the boundary cut off? Should it be two blocks north, or two blocks south? Does that matter? And then you look at all the social components," Fowler said.

Buildings must also go through a bond process. 

And Fowler said a big priority will be additional support to affected families and students. 

"It's a campaign. It's a full-blown transition team,” she said. “And that's all they're going to work on, is transitioning our families and students and making sure they have what they need."

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