GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids Public Schools asked for feedback from the community Monday on its plan to improve the district.
Community members offered feedback for the first time on this plan at the Franklin Campus Auditorium Monday at the Grand Rapids Board of Education’s special public hearing at 5:30 p.m. and at the regular board meeting at 6:30 p.m.
The plan comes after voters passed a $305 million bond proposal in November. GRPS released its “Reimagine GRPS with us!” plan last week, which includes a list of 10 schools that the district is planning to close.
Administrators with GRPS said the closings are in response to declining enrollment in schools throughout the district. Students at closing schools will be moved to schools in the nearby area and GRPS said the plan will be spread out over the next couple of years and no staff will be laid off.
“We’re kind of taking this a step at a time. The first thing is where our scholars are going to go and what our education is going to look like for our young people for the future. We really feel that that is the priority for us here at the Grand Rapids Public Schools. The next phase of that will be looking at the space that we have and what can we do with it that will benefit our community,” Leon Hendrix, the executive director or communications and external affairs, said.
A few GRPS staff members spoke at the hearing, expressing concern about the details of the plan.
“I worry without a well-constructed plan that lays out explicitly what the district plans to do, our students and district will face tremendous consequences,” Sonja Ringlever, a school social worker at East Leonard said. “Currently, the plan we have shows us where students will move, but not how students and schools will be supported during these moves. I would like to encourage the board to postpone any sort of vote until there is a robust and explicit plan and process for these students to move.”
There will be several feedback meetings during the next couple of weeks before the board of education is expected to vote on the facilities realignment plan on Dec. 18. You can find the dates of these meetings on GRPS’ website.