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New SBCSC Plan for 2018

New SBCSC Plan for 2018

Postby Happy Mom » Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:28 pm

South Bend schools plan: Close or merge 5 buildings and relocate 1,200 students
CHRISTIAN SHECKLER South Bend Tribune Nov 14, 2017 Updated 20 min ago (0)

school closings
The Eggleston Center, Brown Intermediate Center and Greene Intermediate Center would be shuttered under a new organizational plan released by South Bend Community School Corp. officials.
Marshall Intermediate Center

Santiago Flores
Marshall Intermediate Center in South Bend could merge with another school in a plan unveiled Monday by district officials. Tribune Photo/SANTIAGO FLORES
Perley Fine Arts Academy
Perley Fine Arts Academy in South Bend could merge with another school in a plan unveiled Monday by district officials.

SOUTH BEND — Five South Bend schools would be closed or absorbed, at least 1,200 students would be relocated, start times would change and at least one new magnet school would emerge under a sweeping new plan proposed by district officials Tuesday.

Three buildings — Brown and Greene intermediate centers and the Eggleston Center — would be shuttered altogether.

Perley Fine Arts Academy and Marshall Intermediate Center would be combined with other schools, though officials hope to find new uses for the buildings.

The nearly 1,200 students at those schools would be relocated, and many more could change schools based on a new redistricting plan that re-emphasizes neighborhood schools.

The closures are part of a plan, labeled "Focus 2018." The new proposal is a successor to "Plan Z," the 2002 organizational plan that utilized new district maps, magnet schools and the busing system to balance the racial makeup and attendance at schools across the corporation.

The school board will gather input at a public forum scheduled for Nov. 27 at Century Center. The board is scheduled to vote on the plan at its Dec. 18 meeting. It would take effect for the 2018-2019 school year.

"The Board of School Trustees asked me to develop a plan which included a change to the grade configuration, new bell times for all levels and closing and repurposing several schools," Superintendent Kenneth Spells said in a statement.

"I am confident this plan will enable the district to increase student engagement and academic success while maintaining fiscal responsibility."

It's not clear precisely how much money the plan could save the corporation, or how many staff members could lose their jobs.

According to a fact sheet from the district, displaced teachers are expected to have work available in other buildings. "Surplused" employees would be invited to apply for open positions.

The plan marks a return to the concept of neighborhood-based schools, as it calls for students to be assigned to schools based on their home address, rather than sometimes being bused across town to ensure racial balance.

The announcement comes on the heels of new data showing the district's enrollment declined by 400 students this fall, marking four straight years of sliding enrollment.

The majority of the district's schools are operating well below their capacity, with some at less than 50 percent of their maximum enrollment.

Although officials have expressed hope that they could stem the enrollment losses, school board President Stan Wruble said plans to "right-size" the district's facilities have been in the works since Spells took over in 2016.

"Even if we hadn't lost a single student this year, we knew we had to do something with all this extra space," Wruble said Tuesday. "It wasn't cost-effective for the taxpayers."

The district's "Plan Z" in 2002 was largely a result of a federal consent decree that forced steps to eliminate racial imbalance in the city's schools by keeping each school's enrollment among black students within 15 percent of the district's overall racial composition.

The corporation must get approval from the U.S. Department of Justice before moving ahead with the new plan. Wruble said new school boundaries would be drawn to comply with the federal consent decree.

According to the plan, students from Greene and Marshall would be moved to a new school based on their addresses, likely to Jackson Intermediate Center on the city's south side.

Students from Brown would likely be moved to Navarre Intermediate Center. Perley would be combined with the renamed Nuner Fine Arts Academy. Finally, the Rise Up Academy alternative high school, which has been housed at the Eggleston Center, would likely be moved to the Perley building.

Students in fifth grade would be moved back to elementary schools, re-introducing traditional middle schools for grades six through eight.

Clay Intermediate Center would become a K-8 International Baccalaureate magnet school open to the whole district. Hamilton and Swanson traditional schools would each serve as a magnet for elementary students in half the district.

Madison STEAM Academy and Nuner Elementary Fine Arts Academy would serve as neighborhood-based magnets, with some students accepted from outside their boundaries, as would McKinley Elementary School's new Maritza Robles Dual Language Immersion Program.

Among intermediate schools, LaSalle Academy would remain a full-district magnet school, while Clay would shift to its new role as a full-district, K-8 International Baccalaureate magnet.

Dickinson Fine Arts Academy, Jackson's Project Lead the Way and Jefferson Traditional would remain as magnets with boundaries but open to others in the district. Edison and Navarre would remain comprehensive middle schools.

The plan would have little effect on the district's high schools. Students would be directly routed to their home school or school of choice, eliminating shuttles and the need to switch buses.

Officials also hope to use to new plan as an opportunity to change start and dismissal times — a change that has been pushed before.

For elementary students, the school day would start at 8 a.m. and extend later, to 3 p.m. Middle school students would be in class from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and high school students would start at 9 a.m. and end at 4 p.m.

Wruble said more classroom time would benefit young children, and the later start time for older students would fall in line with research that shows adolescents perform better with extra sleep and a later start to the day.

He said officials also hoped the staggered start and dismissal times among the different grade levels would help eliminate busing delays ... 1907b.html
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