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South Bend Community Schools approves new superintendent

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- Dr. Todd Cummings will serve as the next superintendent for the South Bend Community School Corporation after a unanimous vote on Monday by the Board of Trustees. 

In a four to zero vote, with two abstentions, the Board approved the appointing of Dr. Cummings. He was offered a two-year contract last month by the Board of Trustees. 

“I’m just thrilled with the opportunity,” Dr. Cummings said. “I look forward to serving the community, the teachers, and the students of South Bend.” 

Dr. Cummings will be paid $186,000 as the new superintendent when he starts in July, according to his contract. He will also receive the following incentives, revolving around the performance of individual schools and the overall school corporation:

1.   If a school is able to improve its state grade to a ‘B,’ Dr. Cummings will receive a one-time $10,000 bonus.

2.   If a school is able to improve its state grade to an ‘A,’ Dr. Cummings will receive a one-time $25,000 bonus.

3.   If Dr. Cummings is able to successfully pass a general fund referendum within his contract, he’ll receive a $25,000 bonus.

Rudy Monterrosa, SBCSC Board Member-At-Large, said the decision was made for the students of the corporation. He said the gap of $10 million coming up with the 2020 circuit breaker, a possible referendum this year, and a hearing on Wednesday with state regulators about failing schools are looming problems for the corporation. 

“Dr. Cummings has been working with us for the last year and a half,” Monterrosa said. “We believe he’s the man who can lead us into the future.”

However, the vote did not come without opposition from the public and board members. Ruth Warren, SBSCS District 1 Board Member, said in her campaign last year she promised constituents more open, transparent decision making. 

“I just didn’t feel like I could vote yes,” Warren said. “This process was not really open.”

Warren and District 2 Board Member Oletha Jones chose not to vote on whether Dr. Cummings would serve as superintendent. 

Over the past week, discussions have taken place in meetings concerning Dr. Cumming’s resume and the board’s selection process. Board President John Anella said he looked into the concerns regarding Dr. Cumming’s resume. 

Dr. Cummings said he thought it was great to see how many people spoke up on the issue. However, he said the really difficult decisions have to be made at the district level.

“It’s the referendum, it’s saving Navarre, it’s welcoming the community to a seat at the table, those are all big things,” Dr. Cummings said.

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