SBCSC Board votes to approve consolidation plan, shut down Clay High School

NOW: SBCSC Board votes to approve consolidation plan, shut down Clay High School

SOUTH BEND, Ind.- The South Bend Schol board voted to shut down Clay High School at a meeting Monday night.

The district voted 4-3 in favor of adopting a long-term plan that will ultimately consolidate the largest school district in the area.

Trustees Stephanie Ball, Kate Lee, Leslie Wesley and John Anella voted in favor of closing the school. Stuart Greene, Jeanette McCullough and Mark Costello voted against closing Clay High School.

South Bend will now have three high schools instead of four.

Other components of the scenario include:

  • McKinley moves into Edison, Edison serves as a PreK-8 DLI magnet, McKinley converts to an early childhood center
  • Fine Arts program at Clay High School moves to Riley High School
  • Clay International Academy remains a district-wide program
  • Warren consolidated into Wilson and Harrison
  • Existing middle school program at Dickinson consolidated into Navarre. Dickinson becomes a new PreK-8 regional choice for the Washington feeder (DLI program at Harrison moves to Dickinson and expands to PreK-8).
  • Marshall serves as the regional K-8 for the Riley feeder
  • Kennedy program moves into LaSalle, Kennedy converts to an alternative education program (K-8 alternative and Rise Up)
  • Brown converts to administration facility

However, the decision did not come without opposition.

"Please, think about our kids," said a Clay High School supporter at the meeting. "Please, they deserve better."

The Clay Township community made one last push to keep Clay High School open ahead of the vote, showing up to speak in opposition to the plan.

"It seems like most of the board wants to cram and shove so many students into a space, pushing for numbers," says a Clay High School student at the podium. "Doesn't that sound more like a factory, rather than a school?"

Their efforts did not stop the approval of the consolidation plans for the South Bend School Corporation.

"The facilities plan seeks to correct the errors of the past, grasp the reality of today, and offers a path forward for a better future," says John Anella, the President of the South Bend School Board.

A few board members suggested tabling tonight's vote, but ultimately failed. Trustees Jeanette McCullough and Mark Costello were the most outspoken of the night, sharing their thoughts in opposition to the suggested plan to right size the district.

"Rightsizing means something different to everybody, it does not mean the same," says McCullough. "Right size does not have to mean closing a school."

"The very fabric of the west side is important, the very fabric of the south side is important, the very fabric of the east side is important, and the very fabric of the north side is important," says Mark Costello.

You can read the final South Bend Schools Facilities Master Plan Recommendations here. 

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