The Board unanimously approved a resolution this week to oppose the proposed Schools of Choice by Gov. Rick Snyder. The resolution will be sent to Snyder and to all of the legislators in Michigan to make the opposition known.
Many Grosse Pointers, including Rep. Tim Bledsoe (D-Grosse Pointe) and other local leaders, are anxiously awaiting the introduction of a draft of the plan that Snyder first introduced in April as part of his education reform plan.
Several officials, including Grosse Pointe Park council members, Grosse Pointe School board members, Bledsoe and others have said they believe the draft will be introduced this week, even as early as Wednesday. The talk about its introduction comes as many Grosse Pointe officials have passed resolutions opposing the plan.
earlier this month. city council also passed a resolution Monday. The resolutions focus on how the proposed mandate would eliminate local control of the schools—a step many say would be the result of the mandate.
The resolution from the school board outlines the history of Grosse Pointe opting out of the Schools of Choice program. It also emphasizes the choice of the residents of the district have opted to pay higher taxes and taken on additional taxes to fund projects that benefit the schools.
Schools of Choice is currently an opt-in or opt-out program in which local districts choose whether to participate and to what extent to participate. Some districts use it to allow the children of employees to attend despite living out of the district boundaries. Other districts use it in hopes of bumping up enrollment.
Grosse Pointe Public Schools has always opted out of the program and Bledsoe said his understanding is that the draft may come in a package of several bills. The topic of the others may include charter schools and other educational issues, he said.
Meanwhile, Sen. Phil Pavlov (R-St. Clair Township), the senate education committee chairman, has declined Bledsoe's request to hold a public hearing in the Grosse Pointes related to the issue. Bledsoe extended the invitation weeks ago because he believes those behind the proposal need to have a direct grasp of the communities they are affecting. Occasionally, public hearings are held outside of Lansing when a particular topic will have a widespread affect upon one area.
Pavlov's decline came in the form of a letter and urged Grosse Pointers to attend the hearings in Lansing along with other members of the public, according to Bledsoe's weekly legislative newsletter.
Opposition to the mandate has been growing as at least two Grosse Pointers spearheaded an effort to start an organization formally opposing the loss of local control—Michigan Communities for Local Control.
The organizers, Lynn Jacobs, Katharine Barr and school board member Brendan Walsh, have met with officials from the various Pointes and have been reaching out to other school districts, superintendents and legislators to gain their support as well.
Officials are anxious to get a copy of the drafted bill to review the specific language that could ultimately be used as the parameters for mandated participation.
One of the main . The capacity of a classroom will ultimately then control how many out of district students are admitted.
Under the current program, each district determines their own capacity but in order for the program to actually be implemented in all districts, the language is likely to spell out that number will be derived, Bledsoe previously told Patch.