Current and former South Bend parents react to drop in enrollment

Local parents are speaking out about the drop in enrollment in South Bend Community Schools.

Over 800 students were taken out of South Bend this year and transferred to nearby districts and private schools. Almost 200 students enrolled at the next district over, Mishawaka.

Daily fights among students and a lack of communication between parents and teachers are just a few of the reasons Lisa Jojo wanted her kids transferred out of South Bend Community Schools.

“They’d bring homework home a lot of times and have no idea how to do it. When homework is not being turned in and I’m not getting phone calls, and I don’t find out until the report cards and progress reports come out, I feel like that’s a little too late,” said Jojo.

So for her daughter’s 5th grade year and her son’s 11th grade year Lisa transferred her kids to Mishawaka schools.

“South Bend’s loss, Mishawaka’s gain,” said Jojo.

Now 14 and 18, Jojo says her kids are thriving.

“I feel that they’re much happier. Their grades are much better,” said Jojo.

And, she says, so are their spirits.

“They enjoy the learning environment itself. They have fun in class,” said Jojo.

When it comes to Superintendent Carole Schmidt’s comment at Monday’s board meeting that she “wasn’t surprised” that over 800 students were transferred this year from South Bend, Jojo says she was alarmed.

“You should be fighting and doing whatever you can to keep your enrollment up. For her to say she’s not surprised is kind of an I don’t care attitude, ‘We expected it, oh well they’re gone,’” said Jojo.

But another South Bend parent doesn’t see it the same way.

“Every school is a little bit different you know in my experience the school is just as good as the teachers and administrators are and for the most part we have some pretty good administrators,” said Mark Smith, father of South Bend students.

Smith says he doesn’t fault parents who want something different for their kids

“Well they have better opportunities with charter schools and all that so if there’s better opportunities and they feel better with the technology and all that then you got to go for it as a parent right?” said Smith.

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