SOUTH BEND — A federal judge has approved the South Bend Community School Corp. Focus 2018 reorganization plan, which is set to take effect in August.
Judge Philip P. Simon, based in Hammond, signed the order Thursday and it was posted to the case file on Friday.
Focus 2018 will close or merge five schools, place fifth-graders back in the elementary schools, and alter start and dismissal times. The school board approved the plan in December.
“There’s no more uncertainty,” South Bend Superintendent Kenneth Spells said Friday afternoon. “There’s some finality and we can move forward.”’
School corporation employees have been working on building, transportation and staffing changes required for Focus 2018 since the plan was approved in December, and Spells said he has no doubt the district will be ready when classes resume Aug. 16.
“This will provide more resources to the buildings that need it. It’s long overdue,” he said.
“I’m very thankful the judge acted quickly,” South Bend school board President Stan Wruble said. The new structure provides more options for families in the school district, better use of resources and a more efficient structure, he said.
The judge approved the plan with stipulations that were agreed upon by the South Bend schools and the U.S. Department of Justice.