What does Greene Township's move to John Glenn Schools mean for residents?

NOW: What does Greene Township’s move to John Glenn Schools mean for residents?

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind., --- After years of controversy and debating, both the South Bend Community School Corporation and John Glenn School Boards finally passed resolutions to deannex the township out of the South Bend School District and into John Glenn School Corporation. A move that’s been long awaited by Greene township residents.

“It’s always been something that’s been talked about since I was a kid. I’m ecstatic, happy it’s finally gotten done,” said Shane Whitmer a Greene Township Parent.

Shane Whitmer is a parent of four who already has a student attending John Glenn High School.

He’s among several longtime residents who’ve pushed for years for the township to leave.

“There’s a lot of farmers in this area still and with our kids we prefer to have classes like that at the school,” said Whitmer.

“This is completely about education. The parents of Greene Township came to me and needed someone to be the spokesperson so that’s why I and my board plus a big team of people have worked to get this going and keep it going,” added Sandra Ort, the Greene Township Trustee in her 40th year in the position.

Although the John Glenn School Board unanimously passed the long-awaited resolution 7-0 Tuesday night, not all members of the South Bend board supported the move or how came it came about.

John Anella, the president of the South Bend School Board who voted to pass the resolution told ABC57 they knew it was something they had to do saying in statement quote:

Greene Township has been seeking this separation for many years. Facing a forced and disorderly separation through the Legislature, the Board chose an orderly, negotiated path toward the dissolution of our union.

The transfer of Greene Township out of the SBCSC would mean a loss of nearly $1.3mil for the district.

It would also a mean a change for taxpayers.

Greene Township residents would have to continue paying taxes to South Bend’s 2020 referendum and debt service until 2028 as well pay remaining taxes to John Glenn.

That way South Bend residents wouldn’t see any increases.

“We felt that that was only right because they were a part of the corporation and voted yes at that time. So, we worked really hard to protect the interest of the school district and families,” explained Kareemah Fowler, the CFO & Assistant Superintendent of Business and Finance at SBCSC.

“Granted it’s not a fun thing to have to pay your taxes where your children aren’t going but if this is what it takes to do it then that’s what the people here in Greene Township are willing to do,” said Ort.

While the transfer would mean a loss for South Bend Schools, John Glenn Schools could see a windfall of a million dollars in tax revenue.

Some of which will be used to expand busing to Greene Township to make it easier for families like Shane Whitmer’s to attend the district.

“Which will allow us to also to not only increase operational services like transportation, but it would allow us to increase student programming services,” said Christopher Winchell, the Superintendent of John Glenn School Corporation.

“For the vast majority it would be far far easier not having to take a kid and wait on a bus stop. It would make it a lot easier,” added Whitmer.

The next step is for the proposal to be advertised in the local newspaper for 14 days, in that period taxpayers from both Greene Township and South Bend have the chance to oppose it.

If the plan doesn’t receive at least 50% opposition, it will move forward for state and federal approval from the Department of Justice.

If approved, it could go into effect as early as January of 2024.

Again, families still have the option between either school district through open enrollment.

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