SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — The South Bend school board has approved plans for closing or merging five schools as the district faces continued declines in enrollment.

The South Bend Tribune reports the plans approved Monday would send fifth-graders back to elementary school, redraw neighborhood school boundaries and change start and dismissal times.

The closures are part of a plan labeled "Focus 2018." It's a successor to "Plan Z," a 2002 organizational plan that used new maps, magnet schools and the busing system to balance racial makeup and attendance at the South Bend Community School Corp.

The plans were released in November. Critics have said district officials are acting too quickly to consider the impact.

The district's enrollment and a decrease in property tax revenue in 2020 are expected to tighten the district's financial position.


Information from: South Bend Tribune,