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South Bend schools introduce 'Focus 2018' proposal

WSBT 22 photo

Breaking news for parents of South Bend students -- there may be some big changes ahead.

Changes that could affect every student and teacher in the district. The plan is called Focus 2018.

There will be new grade configurations, new bell times and perhaps the biggest change -- closing and repurposing several schools.

This plan is a direct response to low enrollment numbers. Leaders say it's what they think is best for the district moving forward.

Superintendent Kenneth Spells laid out a proposal that includes closing Greene Intermediate, Brown Intermediate and Eggleston.

“The first thing we wanted to do was make sure we have a strong school corporation, utilizing our resources the best way possible. So when we have school that are half empty, that's not a good use of resources. We can use that money elsewhere,” said South bend School Board President, Stan Wruble.

Rise Up Academy will temporarily be relocated to Perley Fine Arts. Marshall and Clay Intermediate will be re-purposed.

"We want to stream line our resources. We don't need as many buildings for 18,000 students as we do when you had 20,000 students,” said Spells.

Another big change? Grade level changes.

“We moved the fifth graders back down to the elementary school. Parents, teachers, principals, all thought it was more appropriate to have the fifth graders with K-4 as opposed to with 6th ,7th and 8th,” said Wruble.

While students will be affected-- so will teachers.

“We're going to do everything we can to make sure everyone is either employed with the South Bend School Corporation, or if we don't have room for them, that they get employment elsewhere, Wruble said.

Leaders think it's the right move.

“This is going to be great for kids, it's going to free up some finances, some resources to do some other things,” Spells said.

This plan isn’t set in stone. It's simply a proposal.

There will be a period of public input, including a public forum on Monday, November 27th at the Century Center at 5:30 p.m. The Board of School Trustees will vote on the plan at their meeting on December 18th. After that, the United States Department of Justice will be the final step for approval.

To learn more about the proposal and provide feedback visit: http://sb.school/cms/One.aspx?portalId=68976&pageId=10349316

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