Several readers of this blog who live in South Bend, Indiana, wrote to say that Fred Klonsky is wrong about Pete Buttigieg and the status of racial integration in the public schools of South Bend.

One native of South Bend wrote as follows.

Fred Klonsky’s article is simplistic and wildly inaccurate and Mr. Buttigieg’s statement about “school districts” is absolutely correct.

First, South Bend Community School Corporation is under a desegregation consent decree, and for many years, almost all of its schools have had black student enrollments within plus-or-minus 15 percentage points of the district-wide average.  That is a common, court-accepted standard for a racially integrated school.

Second, South Bend is a diverse school district, with overall enrollment around 35% black, 10-15% Hispanic and about 50% non-Hispanic white.  In contrast, suburban Penn Harris Madison school district is more than 90% non-Hispanic white.  So, that is the context of Mayor Pete’s context. 

South Bend just filed an annual report with the Court last month with shows exactly how integrated its schools actually are.  It is too bad Mr. Klonsky did not do any research before spouting off about something apparently knows nothing about.

The public schools of South Bend have been under court ordered desegregation plan since 1981.

The public schools are monitored every year to see if any of them are out of compliance with the court order.

The corporation files a report on the racial makeup of each South Bend school annually to update the U.S. Department of Justice on its compliance with “Plan Z” — which is the redistricting plan that went into effect in 2002 to help the district make its schools more integrated. The plan was mandated by the 1981 consent decree.

There are 18 primary schools in the South Bend district. Overall, 35.5 percent of primary students in the district are black. That means that, according to Plan Z, black students must account for at least 20.5 percent and no more than 50.5 percent of each school’s student body.

The five primary schools that fell outside that range are Darden Primary Center, where 19.2 percent of students are black; Hamilton Traditional School, where 16.9 percent of students are black; Madison Primary Center, where 61.4 percent of students are black; Perley Primary Fine Arts Academy, where 50.7 percent of students are black, and Warren Primary Center, where 20.2 percent of students are black.

All 10 of the South Bend intermediate schools were in compliance with the Plan Z requirements for racial diversity. Overall, 36.5 percent of students at South Bend’s intermediate centers are black.

There are four regular high schools in the South Bend district. Rise Up Academy at Eggleston is a small alternative high school with fewer than 200 students.

Overall, 35.2 percent of South Bend high school students are black, which means each high school in the district needs to have a student body that is between 20.2 percent and 50.2 percent black.

Many school districts in the nation have segregated schools; South Bend is not one of them.

I regret the error and apologize to Pete Buttigieg.