SBCSC parents and staff voice concerns, Long-term Facilities Master Plan

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- Hands were raised and many questions and concerns were brought up by South Bend Schools’ parents and faculty at Tuesday’s community meeting to discuss the Facilities Long-Term Master Plan.

There are three different proposals to ‘rightsize’ South Bend schools; all three scenarios involve consolidating and even vacating some schools.

This has some South Bend teachers wondering what this means for the future of their jobs.

“My jobs at stake, my kid’s future is at stake, where does that go from here?”’ asks Erica Andis, 5th grade teacher at Swanson Traditional School and parent to Riley High School student.

Although the Master Plan details that all teachers should expect to keep their roles within the district, educators like Andis argue it would still be a big adjustment.

“We signed up for this program, we’ve been teaching this program for 11 years, for me, longer for others, where do we go? Can we stay together?”’ asks Andis.

Parents also weighed in at the meeting, bringing up concerns about magnet programs, and what would happen to those if a school were converted or vacated. Andis worries her sophomore at Riley High School won’t be able to graduate from the Career and Technical Education Program if it’s converted into a middle school.

“My older son is a freshman at Purdue, went through that program, and is more successful as a freshman than a lot of the other kids that are in that freshmen engineering program at Purdue because he’s got the basics that he got at Riley at that phenomenal program,” Andis shares.

Community members say they’re uncertain about what’s next. They want more questions to be answered by the district.

“Buildings aren’t just the whole piece, it’s a community, it’s the people that make up those buildings that are important,” says Andis. “Unless you’re in a school consistently to see those things that happen every day, you can’t get a true feeling of what that community and what that school is. To make a decision without knowing that, you’re not giving those families that benefit.”

The Final Board Recommendations to determine the future of South Bend schools is happening on March 20th; but there are still opportunities to voice your concerns or get questions answered. There are community meetings happening February 8th at Jackson Middle School and Clay International Academy from 5:30pm- 6:30pm and 7:00pm-8:00pm. You can also join virtual meetings from February 13th-17th by signing up through the online survey on SBCSC’s website.

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