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New SBCSC 'Focus 2018' plan maps out details

South Bend Community Schools Superintendent Dr. Ken Spells announced his proposal Tuesday for an entirely new plan to restructure the school district for August 2018 that could have your child going to a different school.

15 years ago, a similar plan, “Plan Z” went into effect to help maintain racial diversity among other challenges in the school district over the last decade and now, a new idea is coming from current school district officials.

“The city has changed and the school population has changed so our schools will continue to reflect that diversity,” said Sue Coney, Director of Communications for South Bend Schools.

Dr. Spells is wasting no time proposing his plan. Focus 2018 would restructure the school district by closing several schools.

“In 1981 we entered into an agreement that our schools would have racial balance. And since 1981 we’ve only redrawn the school boundary lines one time and that was Plan Z which was now almost 15 years ago. It’s good to take a look every ten years or so at the populations and see how we might want to re-draw district lines,” said Coney.

 Dr. Spells met privately Wednesday morning with the department of justice about that plan.

According to documents, the new plan will aim to maintain racial diversity and address the change in community demographics, but it will also impact at least 1,100 students.

“We currently have 6 schools that are out of the guidelines for racial compliance, so this new plan is a redrawing of the lines,” said Coney.

Students will be reassigned to other schools that stay open based on their home address, for example, if you child goes to Greene Intermediate, they could likely be moved to Jackson Intermediate. If they go to Brown Intermediate, they could wind up at Edison or Dickinson. And if your student attends Perley Fine Arts Academy, that program would be held at Nuner Primary. And for Rise Up Academy students, they’ll be moved over to Darden Primary.

Some of those ‘boundary’ deciding factors…

“What’s the condition of the building, what’s the capacity of the building, how many students are in the building now, what future repair needs. Also the geographic area; is it on the far reaches boundary for the school corporation or more where the population centers are located,” said Coney.

Officials say nothing is set in stone yet but things are moving quickly to get the ball rolling.

“This is a proposed plan at this point. The school board is scheduled to vote on it in December, and once the plan has been adopted, then there will be a lot more information available to parents on how they can apply to the magnet choices and additional information that will come forward in January,” said Coney.

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