Clay South Bend 64a6f8638ca5e

Group goes to court to block closure of South Bend, Ind., high school

July 6, 2023
The group asserts that next year's planned closing of Clay High School will violate a desegregation consent decree.

A group trying to stop the South Bend (Ind.) district from closing one of its high schools has asked a federal judge to intervene.

WSBT-TV reports that the group Save Clay, Inc., argues in court filings that closing Clay High School would violate a longstanding racial desegregation agreement.

The South Bend board voted in April to close Clay High at the end of the 2023-24 school year and disperse the student body among the district's three other high schools. In 2022-23, Clay had an enrollment of 628, less than half of its 1,500 capacity.

Peter Agostino, attorney for the Save Clay group, says the South Bend School district failed to create a plan to move these students without violating a federal consent decree that was established in 1981.

This decree was put into place to desegregate South Bend Schools. The decree says that the number of black students in each school should be within 15 percentage points of the total percentage of black students within the school district.

Clay has a 42% minority population. Agostino says the closing would negatively affect this group.

In its motion to intervene in the desegregation case, Save Clay Inc. says, "Without a transition plan in place, the proposed closure of Clay High School will likely violate the existing terms of the Consent Decree."

Agostino says the students were not fully considered in the decision to close Clay.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy has been writing about education for American School & University since 1999. He also has reported on schools and other topics for The Chicago Tribune, The Kansas City Star, The Kansas City Times and City News Bureau of Chicago. He is a graduate of Michigan State University.

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