SBCSC Board approves Focus 2018 plan unanimously

Published: Dec. 17, 2017 at 11:52 PM EST
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The SBCSC Board voted to approve the 'Focus 2018' plan at their meeting Monday night.

The plan includes a number of changes including shutting down three schools, repurposing a few others, cutting staff and changing start times.

"We are attempting with focus of 2018 to provide the best education possible for our students quite frankly," said Stan Wruble, South Bend School Board President.

The plan would close Brown Intermediate, Green Intermediate and Eggleston Schools.

Perley Fine Arts Academy and Rise Up Academy would be relocated.

"The reasons we chose the schools we chose, in part are because of the cost savings," said Wruble explaining the closings. "We estimated that we will save $8 million in 2018 by not having to repair the schools we're closing and not having to fully staff them as well."

He added: "That's $8 million we could use for other programs for other things."

Few spoke out in support of the plan outside the school system itself. just because it passed, doesn't mean the board didn't listen to what people had to say.

passionate people took the microphone to defend schools their children attend.

"They need all the teachers and all the love and all they can get," Minion Stanton said. "And they get that at Brown!"

If you've been following this story, you've heard the numerous parents from Perley Fine Arts speak out to stop their children from being moved to Nuner.

"The process is just moving way too fast," Marguerite Taylor said. "We ask that you slow it down a little."

"I would love to see a delayed merger for Perley," Annie Envall said.

The board has heard those pleas as newcomer Rudy Monterrosa requesting to amend the plan so that Perley be given another year before changes were made.

"The reason we were elected was to represent a constituency," Monterrosa said.

This was only to be quickly shut down in a 5 to 2 vote, with the board saying if you change one thing, you change it all.

"It's not just about Perley," Board President Stan Wruble said. "It's about the entire focus 2018, so I'm going to vote against the amendment."

Just before the final vote, tensions rose between audience members and the board.

"You're making comments while I'm trying to make a brief statement thanking all of the people who come out here and care about our schools," Wruble shouted at two audience members.

"Let's carry on and lets go to the vote!" Jasmine Brown shouted back. "Let's vote!"

In the end, the passion didn't influence the board as they voted to pass the plan unanimously.

"You're going to have to make hard decisions as superintendent," Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Spells said. "We know that people are not always going to be happy. They're not always going to be popular decisions. But as long as we know that these decisions are good for kids and that we can provide more opportunities for kids, I've been talking about this since day 1, that's what I want to do as superintendent."

Dr. Spells says they are going to hit the ground running Tuesday to get the plan in gear.

Teachers in any of the schools closing down will be put into displacement pools. If the school is being reconfigured, they could just be moving to a new school. They'll find out what is happening with them as soon as possible, and any new position they'll have will be decided by April 1st.