Three new members take over South Bend school board - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Three new members take over South Bend school board

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Change is on its way to to the South Bend School Corporation. All three incumbents up for re-election to the school board lost Tuesday night.

The three challengers that are taking over are Michelle Engel, John Stancati and Jay Caponigro. They beat out Marcia Hummel, Sheila Bergeron, and Ralph Pieniazkiewicz.

"When I told people I decided to run, the first thing they said, I can't even say what publicly, but they thought I lost it completely. That's the reaction you get and that is not fair either," says Stancati. He currently works as a bailiff at the Juvenile Justice Center and has no experience working for a school corporation.

"I felt something needed to be done," says Stancati. After hearing that some South Bend schools are on academic probation and under threat of a state takeover, Stancati knew he needed a seat on the board.

"I certainly think we need to jell as a board, that's been one of our issues recently. We want to make sure we get some firm foundations and work together," says Caponigro. He is another new face joining the school board. Working within the school district isn't new to Caponigro, who was the founding director of the Robinson Community Learning Center.

His interest in the board stemmed from his time spent working directly with teachers, parents and students.

South Bend Superintendent James Kapsa was not available to talk on camera, but he did release this statement:

"We certainly thank the incumbents for their dedication and longtime service to the school corporation. Today we have contacted the newly elected board members to give them the information they need to be able to begin their terms."

The new terms start January 10th. The three incumbents will finish out their terms on December 31st. In the meantime, the new board members will be going through orientation and of course.. attending meetings to get up to speed.

Pieniazkiewicz and Bergeron have been on board for the past 12 years. Marcia Hummel was on the board for 16 years.

We did try contacting all three of them, but our phone calls were not returned.

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