South Bend Schools Board votes to close Tarkington, Hay

NOW: South Bend Schools Board votes to close Tarkington, Hay

SOUTH BEND, Ind.--- The South Bend Community School Corporation voted Monday night to shut down Tarkington and Hay Elementary Schools at the end of the academic year. Superintendent Dr. Todd Cummings made the recommendation at the end of January. 

"You’re destroying neighborhoods, you’re destroying families," said Judy Hagerdon, a Hay parent. "Kids that see these children every day, they play with them in the summer time, they go to school with them, you’re shipping them out of their areas." 

The board voted 4-3 to close Hay and 5-2 to close Tarkington with Othela Jones and Jeanette McCullough being the only members to vote against either measure.

"I believe that the vast majority of the citizens in our community are asking ‘Why now?’," said Jones.

All Tarkington students will move to Darden Elementary with Hay students being split between Monroe and Wilson Elementary Schools.

Dr. Cummings points to school capacity as a main reason for shutting the schools down, but some parents say they're confused by the decision making process.

"There are three schools with less attendances, there are schools that are overcrowded but we’re not talking about them closing," said Hagerdon.

Jones pointed to the tight-knit Hay and Tarkington communities as a reason she could not vote for either measure.

"I do commend the Hay community who had the courage and the tenacity to make their voice heard and, despite the circumstances, speak up for their children, our children," said Jones.

McCullough attempted a last minute motion to table the votes but it was voted down. Hagerdon says she's reevaluating her child's time in the corporation as a result of this vote.

"Instead of closing buildings and pushing parents away from South Bend Schools, let’s look for incentives to bring them back because I’m telling you my kid’s gone," said Hagerdon. "I’ve already checked into other schools."

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