A bill that would allow students in St. Joseph County’s Greene Township to leave the South Bend Community School Corp. — and take the state tuition support that follows each of them — and join the John Glenn School Corp. in Walkerton easily passed the Indiana Senate this week with a 44-4 vote.
Senate Bill 421 now moves on to the Indiana House of Representatives for consideration.
South Bend closed Greene Intermediate Center, 24702 Roosevelt Road, in June 2018, moving students into other schools in the district for the current school year. Since then, Greene Township’s trustee and board have pushed for a bill to allow students to merge into the nearby John Glenn district.
“The South Bend School Corporation has a lot of failing schools,” said Greene Township trustee Sandra Ort. “There’s so much busing and across so many big highways, and with all the busing issues, that’s a big concern. But it’s mostly that John Glenn has a good education at all levels,” she said.
There are currently about 100 students from Greene Township who attend South Bend schools. When Greene closed, Ort said, many parents hoped to move their children into John Glenn schools. While this transition could have been achieved by a resolution between the two districts’ school boards, Ort said that South Bend was not cooperative.
Representatives from South Bend schools’ communications department did not respond to multiple requests for comment this week.
Ort and the Greene Township board then pursued the legislative route as District 8 state Sen. Mike Bohacek, R-Michiana Shores, authored the disannexation bill. District 8 includes Greene Township. The bill would allow townships of a certain size to join a new school corporation without needing approval from its current school corporation.