SOUTH BEND — U.S. education officials have resolved a dispute among Indiana officials by clarifying that struggling schools within “transformation zones” can be eligible to receive federal school improvement grant money beyond four years.

That is good news for the five struggling west-side schools here that will be part of the South Bend Empowerment Zone to be launched next school year.

The zone has a proposed five-year budget totaling $3.3 million. The schools, which plan to use money to make curriculum and staffing changes, include Navarre Middle School and its four “feeder” elementary schools: Coquillard, Harrison, Warren and Wilson.

The dispute was resolved by the U.S. Department of Education after the

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