South Bend Empowerment Zone board meets to address misinformation

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The South Bend Empowerment Zone Board of Directors met at District Headquarters on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the progress of the zone since its inception in 2019, as well as address recent bouts of misinformation about the zone’s inner-workings. 

Since the zone began in 2019, it’s had to alter projected plans due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and board members believe that the program is truly hitting its stride now in year three. 

Currently, the plan is set to be renewed for another five years on July 1, 2024, unless a vote is passed by the South Bend Community School Corporation’s Board of Trustees to deconstruct the program. 

The date for that vote is currently set for June 21. 

One of the biggest challenges that the zone has run into in its push to be renewed is the spread of misinformation. 

“We’ve been super intentional at the town hall meetings and in other avenues on making sure that we are being as detailed as possible and sharing information about the zone; in particular around our finances as well as the results that we’ve had because we’ve definitely had a lot of progress in other areas.” said Empowerment Zone Leader, Davion lewis. 

Ultimately, the decision will come down to a vote between the SBCSC Board of Trustees and the Empowerment Zone Board. 

Both parties met in a separate meeting on Monday to discuss the future of the zone, according to Board Chairman, Sam Centellas.

“It was a great opportunity for all of us to try and get on the same page around what has happened, what is happening, and what we want to have happen in the future.” said Centellas. 

Both board members also emphasized that anyone looking to show support for the empowerment zone can reach out to the board members directly, or contact the zone through their website, listed here.

There is also another town hall meeting scheduled for the first week of June and is expected to be announced on the zone’s Facebook page, here.

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