Hamilton parents worry about losing school

By: Nick McGurk Email
By: Nick McGurk Email

Parents are protesting the possible closing of a South Bend School.

On Monday night, South Bend schools superintendent James Kapsa laid out five options for cutting costs. One of them included a proposal to shift students from Bendix to Eggleston School or Hamilton Traditional. In turn, Hamilton students would merge with Monroe Elementary students.

That proposal angers parents at Hamilton.

On Wednesday morning, dozens of parents and students marched with signs outside Hamilton protesting the proposal, chanting "Save our school."

Parents say it's the sense of community and commitment at Hamilton that has led to high test scores and a great learning environment, and they don't want to see it go.

"I like it and all the teachers are really nice and all that stuff,” said Alex, a student at Hamilton. “It's just a really good school."

"I'm going to do everything I can because I have a three year old and I've been making plans of sending her here when she's old enough to go to school,” said Brooke Marsh, parent of a Hamilton third-grader.

"Why are they choosing our school, when there are obviously so many right things happening at this school?” said Angie Medors, who works at Hamilton and is the PTO president.

Hamilton Traditional is a magnet school, one parents choose for their kids.

"Family involvement is what's made this school, and to take that out of the community without even discussing it, really, is a travesty,” said Bill Horton, a concerned parent.

So parents and students are banding together to voice their opinions.

"We don't want to shut it down, it's working so well for us,” said Seth Nelson, in kindergarten.

As for the school board, Bill Sniadecki says he wasn’t against the proposal at Monday’s meeting – but changed his mind as of Tuesday.

"We see so few successes in this world, we need to keep what we got. There's other alternatives out there,” he said.

But there is at least some support. Board member Sheila Bergeron says she thinks the proposal is a good idea. She says Bendix is overcrowded. She says she understands concerns from those at Hamilton – but she says what affects the greatest number of students is her reasoning.

The board is looking at shutting down one intermediate and one primary school.

On March 15 the public will be able to comment at the board meeting at 5:30.

The board votes on final proposals from Superintendent Kapsa on March 29.

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