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Focus 2018 discussions continue over changing bell times and school closures

SOUTH BEND, Ind.—Discussions continued Wednesday night concerning the proposed changes and potential challenges Focus 2018 could bring about.

The school corporation held a “Let’s Talk Tour” stop at Nuner Primary Center where superintendent Dr. Ken Spells and his staff answered questions for parents and community members.

Parents Edward Thomas and Keya Young have two kids at LaSalle Intermediate. They came to the meeting and voiced their concerns about changing bell times.

“We both work in that 9-5, 8-5 area, where we have to work but our kids have to be at school at the same time so we need to know what you have in place for that,” says Thomas.

While child care is already offered in primary schools, parents to intermediate students want to know how changing start and end times could affect their kids and their careers. Before and after care isn’t offered for kids after primary school and it comes at a cost to parents.

“Not everybody can stay home and make sure their children can get to school on time. And its important that they coincide with what our everyday life is, what our schedules are and I don’t think they took that into consideration when they decided this,” says Young.

The school says they are working to figure that out and they think the change in school times is well worth it.

“There’s been a lot of brain research that points to the fact that for adolescents a later start time can be very beneficial,” says Kay Antonelli, Assistant to Superintent for Curriculum and Instruction.

Perley parents also showed up advocating for the fine arts programs.

“I think Perley has been a really excellent program for our kids both from an educational and a disciplinary philosophy,” says Mark Dehmlow.

The Dehmlows say they moved their kids from Nuner to Perley and they’ve since excelled. Moving them back, would be a big adjustment.

“They’ve built this community there, and you can’t take a community and move it to another community and have the same community. It just can’t happen,” says Amanda Kershner-Dehmlow.

There will be one more meeting before the board votes at December 18th. It’s scheduled for Wednesday the 13th at Darden Primary.

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