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The Crossing Asks SBCSC to Become Partners

By June 22, 2009No Comments

Posted: 6:49 PM Jun 22, 2009 Reporter: Ryan Famuliner A South Bend alternative school may close its doors if it doesn’t get help from the South Bend Community School Corporation. “The Crossing” presented its plea to the school board Monday night. The organization is seeking a partnership with the school corporation that would bring in state funds for their program. There’s a network of alternative schools in The Crossing program throughout our area, and nearly a dozen other school corporations have reached similar agreements. The school hopes South Bend will join the cause. If it weren’t for the crossing, Danielle Dunning may very well have become a statistic. “When I was in public school I hated going to school. I had poor attendance… I didn’t think I was going to graduate,” Dunning said. After leaving the Bremen School District two years ago, she didn’t have many options. “I was going to transfer to Mishawaka High School where they have an alternative program, but their tuition was too expensive so they suggested The Crossing,” Dunning said. The South Bend Crossing is where she landed. There, the teachers let the students make their own work schedule. “I guess some days you just don’t feel like doing math so you can work on your English assignments or work at your own pace,” Dunning said. Teachers say these students need a different formula if they are to succeed. “When they get here there’s not a lot of hope and they’re dealing with different issues, you know. Struggling the embarrassment of maybe dropping out or the shame not being able to make it,” said Steve Reynolds, a teacher at the South Bend Crossing. But now, The Crossing may not make it. It is part of a national program, which has decided to close the South Bend Crossing after funding it for the last three years. Now, they’re hoping the school corporation will lend them a hand. “We’re pushing because over the last few years we’ve seen why we need to be here,” Reynolds said. So that students like Danielle get a chance to walk at graduation; like she did last week. “My mom cried at graduation… I thought I was going to be a dropout so it was hard not to cry, but I did it,” Dunning said. “I think its a win-win. It’s gonna serve the youth of the community and also the community. The South Bend Community School Corporation, they would have a hand in rehabilitating some of these kids that are out on the streets,” Reynolds said. Meantime, The Crossing says the partnership would only benefit the school corporation, and that the school corporation would actually make money off the deal. The South Bend location has 32 students, 9 of which are special education students. Based on last year’s numbers, the corporation got $6,230 per student. The Crossing operates on $6,000 per student. Meantime, they would actually bring in an extra $2,265 for each special education student. Based on those numbers, that would leave the School Corporation with a surplus of $27,755. The Crossing also says the partnership could only help graduation rates. They take in the same students that have been suspended, expelled, or have dropped out; and already count against the graduation rate. Reynolds also addressed another potential issue; the fact that The Crossing program is Christian-based. “We’ve had people from many different religions graduate here, Catholic, Muslim even; and we’ve developed relationships with them. Religion is not an issue here, because we explore life,” Reynolds said. “Yes, we do offer Jesus Christ as an answer… but we aren’t shoving it down their throats.” Monday night’s presentation was purely informational, and the next school board meeting is July 13th. That’s the earliest that superintendent Jim Kapsa could make a recommendation for a school board vote. To visit The Crossing’s website, follow the link below. Click Here ]]>