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Community groups call for the removal of South Bend Schools Superintendent Todd Cummings

BLM-South Bend member Regina Williams-Preston speaks at a press conference in front of the SBCSC administration building on Monday, June 20.
Gemma DiCarlo
/
WVPE News
BLM-South Bend member Regina Williams-Preston speaks at a press conference in front of the SBCSC administration building on Monday, June 20.

A group of community organizations is calling on the South Bend Community Schools board to fire Superintendent Todd Cummings.

Representatives from Black Lives Matter-South Bend, the South Bend branch of the NAACP and the Michiana Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression say Cummings’ leadership hasn’t been effective, citing declining enrollment numbers, high turnover among building principals and a lack of teacher support.

“This didn’t start with Todd, but these problems have intensified under his leadership,” BLM-South Bend member Regina Williams-Preston said at a press conference Monday. “And it’s about time we stand up and demand that the school board of trustees find a leader for this district willing to address the real issues.”

The group also took issue with the privatization of some school services — such as food service and custodial work — and the district’s memorandum of understanding with the South Bend police that allows officers to maintain a presence in schools.

The school corporation is in the process of developing a five to 10-year facilities master plan in an attempt to “right-size” its building footprint. The plan could involve closing one or more of the district’s secondary schools, though no details are final.

“We have a facilities plan, but where is the educational plan?” Williams-Preston said. “If we were educating kids, parents would not take their children to other schools.”

When asked what qualities they would like to see in a new superintendent, BLM-South Bend member and former principal Tiana Batiste-Waddell said “accountability.”

“As a leader, it’s important to… hold your employees accountable to whatever practices you put in place,” she said. “It is the superintendent’s job to hold people accountable to evidence-based practices that can move academic and behavioral data.”

The group says it will bring its concerns to the next school board meeting on Wednesday, June 22.

When contacted for comment, a school corporation spokesperson said they were unable to provide a statement at this time due to the Juneteenth holiday.

Contact Gemma at gdicarlo@wvpe.org or follow her on Twitter at @gemma_dicarlo.

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