The South Bend school board's Monday night meeting was more about research and less about feedback. It was a “working session,” meaning the public was invited to attend, but couldn’t comment or ask questions.
The state of Indiana says the district must cut nearly $7 million from its 2010 budget and Monday's meeting was all about cutting back on facilities.
Superintendent Jim Kapsa says, “There's a chance not only could it improve education but there could also be some cost savings involved as well in closing some facilities.”
The Board is looking to close one Intermediate and one Primary school.
Five options are being considered with action taken to one or possibly two schools of the schools listed.
First, closing Greene Intermediate - which requires permission from the courts. Next is moving Lafayette Traditional School to join Warren or Coquillard and also move Bendix School to Eggelston or Hamilton.
There's the possibility of moving the Early College Program (ECP) from Riley to Studebaker and moving the New Tech Program to Riley or Studebaker.
It's fairly complicated but in a perfect world the school board would like to have the selected moves done by fall of 2010 - something board member Ralph Pieniazkiewicz believes can happen, but will be tough.
“Oh, we’re very optimistic,” said Pieniazkiewicz. “Yeah, the glass is half full at this point. It's going to be moving some students and possibly teachers - but we have to think about the students.”
As for the empty buildings, Kapsa says there are programs that could fit into the buildings, or they could be leased out or sold.
The board made sure to point out it’s the locations that are changing – not the programs.
A decision and vote is likely to happen at the March 29th meeting.