Board unanimously approves resolution to annex Greene Township

Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 11:18 PM EST
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ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - The John Glenn School Board unanimously approved a resolution, giving the green light for the annexation of Greene Township.

Approximately 400 families are in the Greene Township district. Roughly 250 students attend John Glenn Schools, while roughly 75 others go to South Bend. South Bend Schools claim the number of Greene Township students attending John Glenn Schools is far less, at roughly 120 students.

Since 2018, township officials and the school board worked with local state reps to make this happen. The resolution is expected to advance to the state level unless at least 50 percent of the registered voters in Greene Township are against it, as well as 10 percent of registered voters in South Bend.

Voters have 30 days to file a petition against the process.

It’s a move many families in Greene Township have been working toward for decades.

When Greene Township families tried to jump ship in the 80s, they wanted their children to go to the school closer to where they lived.

Now that students can choose their school with open enrollment, this resolution mostly means Greene Township tax dollars will go to John Glenn Transportation services instead of South Bend, and that’s not where the money stops.

Instead of looking at a $1.8 million loss annually if the state were to intervene, South Bend Community School Corporation stands to only lose around $1.1 million by entering a resolution for John Glenn School corporation to annex Greene Township, something South Bend has been reluctant to do in the past.

“It wasn’t going away and it started to become apparent that could happen by legislation, so we wanted to be proactive and get ahead of it. With this resolution, we were able to negotiate those terms,” said SBCSC Assistant Superintendent of Business Kareemah Fowler.

This isn’t the first time Greene Township parents called for a departure from South Bend.

“At Monday’s school board meeting, supporters of the Greene Township secession claimed unanimous support for leaving the South Bend Schools and transferring to the John Glenn Schools,” said Mark Peterson in a report from 1985.

Tuesday night, Sandra Ort finally saw this resolution go through having heard these complaints for years, once as a student, then as a parent, and now as the trustee in Greene Township.

She says this is what’s best for their students.

“It’s just because of the failing schools and that parents want the best for their children. That’s why they came to me and we had the meetings, and people signed petitions and everything to get the ball rolling,” Ort said.

John Glenn Superintendent Christopher Winchell says busing will remain as it is in Greene Township through the 2023-24 school year before expanding further come that fall.

Students still have the choice of which school district to attend. That will be a choice for 72 students living in Greene Township that attend South Bend Schools.

The next steps involve getting approval from the State Board of Education and the Department of Justice.