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Some local parents shocked by proposal for several South Bend schools to close

Parents react to the Focus 2018 proposal for several South Bend schools to close or be re-purposed. // WSBT 22 Photo

24 hours after an overhaul was unveiled for South Bend schools, parents and teachers are wondering: How will they be impacted?

Focus 2018's goal is to deal with the district's falling enrollment numbers. It involves changing grade configurations and school start times.

The biggest change is the proposal to close three schools. Many people are shocked by this plan.

Now that the shock is wearing off, parents, students and teachers are going through the plan to figure out who will be impacted. The answer is just about everyone.

Harwood found out about Focus 2018 online. If approved, her daughter, a third grader at Tarkington, will be one of the many students displaced.

In the plan, students from Tarkington and Swanson will swap buildings, because the current Tarkington program needs more space.

"She loves her school. She loves her friends, so the thought of uprooting her to a completely new school while we will have the same teachers and staff as they're saying, it will be a challenge," said Harwood.

Harwood's little one isn't the only student facing a change.

Green and Brown Intermediate Centers are slated to close. Rise Up Academy will be temporarily moved to Perley. Perley students will be moved to Nuner.

For parents like Kellie Pickell, the news that his five-year-old who attends Perley will have to change schools is upsetting.

"I do hope that with the switch to Nuner, they can carry over a lot of the stuff that's happening at Perley with the arts program. There's a great after-school arts program where they choose their focus. Maybe it's music or dance. My son is in an improv class right now for kindergartners, so, it's been really cool to see them acting that out," said Pickell.

Harwood says she's confident in school leaders.

"If all that is implemented and it truly works in the benefit of the students, I am all for it,” said Harwood.

Others still have unanswered questions and are wondering if they need to change districts.

"That thought’s been running through my mind of whether or not now is a good time to move, since my son is going to be uprooted anyways," said Pickell.

The district plans to host a meeting for parents on November 27 at 5:30 p.m. at the Century Center. The School Board will vote on the proposal on December 18.

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