Wesley looks to bring change to South Bend school board

Leslie Wesley is looking to shake up the school system.

She’s the newest face on South Bend Community School Corporation’s board of education and she’s laying out her hopes for the district.

“The whole idea is to bring your goals and ideas to the table with the other teammates and to make sure that we have one common goal, and it’s to make students successful,” said Wesley.

Wesley has years of education consulting under her belt.

So she’s aware of the many issues facing the district.

“Our students are precious cargo and we have to make sure that we invest our money and dollars into adequate busing, adequate staff so they can get our students to school,” said.

Longstanding issues of busing is one of many Wesley says she’s looking to tackle.

But she believes it’s time to try something new.

“I think it’s important that we look and examine all innovative ideas,” said Wesley. “Neighborhood schools is going to help us with transportation issues, it will also help build communities.”

The only thing in the way is a 1980’s consent decree by a federal court to the school corporation, requiring equal opportunity for all students.

“Since then, it’s 2016, we need to review our consent decree,” said Wesley.

Her opportunity to pursue those policies is only possible because voters decided to review the school board.

She beat longtime seat holder Bill Sniadecki by 46 votes, securing the win and just over 37 percent of the election.

“Sniadecki did a marvelous job in 12 years and I have to give him a lot of respect for working in the third district and I think it’s just time for change,” she said. “I think the voters are saying now we want change, we want to see some fresh ideas in the third district.”

Wesley was also part of the search team that recommended the past two superintendents for the district.

She says me her focus now will be meeting with parents, teachers and students before she starts.

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