3 Grosse Pointe Woods Residents File for School Board

Three residents will be competing for two seats on the Grosse Pointe School Board, according to petitions filed with the Grosse Pointe Park clerk's office. The filing deadline was Tuesday.

Two current Board members and one resident who graduated from in 2010 will be vying for two seats in the November election.

The filing deadline was close of business Tuesday. According to the petitions filed with Grosse Pointe Park's clerk's office the following residents are candidates: 

  • William Broman, who is a current student at George Washington University.
  • Judy Gafa, the current school board president.
  • Cindy Pangborn, a current school board member.

All three live in Grosse Pointe Woods. Gafa and Pangborn filed in late July while Broman filed Tuesday. Lawn signs began popping up in the Pointes weeks ago.

The terms for Gafa and Pangborn expire at the end of this calendar year, thus the need for each to seek re-election. Their seats are the only two that are up for election this year.

Kathy Abke August 15, 2012 at 02:25 PM
I am in full support of Judy Gafa, and I have not found her "deafeningly quiet" on the subject of residency, Lisa. She met with the committee that had concerns, she listened, changes were made (for good or for bad.) I read about all three in media outlets. I'll be glad to send you the links if you want. Bottom line is the problem, in reality, is not what's perceived in the general population. Less than half a percent of the student body, in fact. Remedial teaching, as you refer to it, is absolutely what is needed to bridge the achievement gap. Bridging the achievement gap raises standardized test scores.
GP For Life August 15, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Kath, I very much agree with your and Bradley's point about remediating some of our transfer students. Though, before we can remedy a situation we must first diagnose it. Instead of waiting for the achievement gap to become evident I believe that we should test all transfer students to make sure they're up to our standards of excellence.
Lisa C. August 15, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Kathy, hard to bridge the remedial gap when the majority of these kids come in to the GPPSS in 9th and 11th grade ( I am referring to the info presented at the last school board meeting). As far Ms. Gafa's stance on residency: she is only responding when push has come to shove. She is also towing the line on re-verification - which is not what she originally ran on years ago. But since you believe the line about 1/2% of the student body - there's nothing else to say.
Judy Gafa August 15, 2012 at 05:20 PM
I want to set the record straight in regards to the accusation I have done nothing on residency. I am one of two board members who presented a resolution regarding verifying residency, that was voted down 4-3 in the beginning of my term. I voted against Mr. Jakubiacs proposal three years ago when the district was laying off 32 teachers and the cost was going to be $40,000.00 and there was no proposed cut to the budget to cover that cost. No other board member has made a motion, made suggestions for improvement, which I did asking that the number of investigations be posted on the website as well as the number of students removed. I also asked thatthetiplinebe added to the website several years ago. I also traveled to Lansing on my own time to fight against mandated school of choice. That is my record. It can be accessed on the district website under archived minutes.
V. M. August 15, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Bradley, Great point. Just because you ask for proof of residency, doens't make an issue of racism. If someone asked you for ID, to identify yourself, would you not hand them your driver's license. What is the big deal. Rules are rules, just stick to them. Enough with the race card.Get over it. The Board Office needs to address this issue NOW!!! Stop making excuses, and do your job! Oh, and stop checking the students who need not be checked. Check the ones that do.
Kathy Abke August 15, 2012 at 10:34 PM
GP For Life - the district has plans in the works to do just that.
Lisa C. August 16, 2012 at 03:50 AM
Ms. Gafa, Sorry that you take umbrage at my observations. But even from your own admission, your resolution regarding verifying residency and your vote against Mr. Jakubiac's proposal was years ago. I applaud and appreciate your efforts against mandated school of choice - we will certainly need that kind of determination in the next go around (I don't think Governor Snyder has given up quite yet). What I was bemoaning was the lack of perseverance regarding residency verification. Albeit, after the initial verification and your election to the school board, the issue appeared to die down. But with funding and resources being stretched so thin, residency has never been more important. But all this is besides the point. What I apparently failed to convey in my first post is this: While I'm not sure that GPers are ready for a board member using Skype to telecommute to meetings, I don't think it should necessarily preclude him. Just as being physically present at a meeting doesn't guarantee ones effectiveness.
Lisa C. August 16, 2012 at 11:47 AM
Kathy Abke- in your response to GP For Life about the district has plans in the works to test transfer students. I wonder where you are getting your information because in the past I have been told wasn't possible because we are a public school system. (To which I usually responded that Detroit Renaissance and several other Detroit public schools do so why can't the GPPSS.)
William Broman August 16, 2012 at 12:15 PM
I think that the issue of residency is one that I have first hand experience with, and may be a welcomed perspective on the issue. When I walked the halls of Grosse Pointe North less than three years ago, students did not try to hide the fact that they were not residents. They would often flaunt the fact that they were able to get away with it. I do think this is a problem the Board needs to solve. As I wrote on the home page of my website www.williambroman.com, I do not want to fix problems, I want to help solve problems. Costly residency re-verification is a fix to this problem. Why is it a fix? It has to happen every year, and relies on a large sum of money being available. The only truly viable solutions will rise to the top when the Board, all of the city councils, as well as our state leaders, come to the table at the same time. When the opinion of GPPSS changes, so do the property values. The city councils should be interested in how to help the District ensure that property values do not drop, for that would leave each city with less tax dollars. I am doing my research on potential solutions, and ways to bring all of the stakeholders together, and I will write about it next week on my website. In the meantime, like my facebook page facebook.com/wbroman.gppss and follow me on twitter, twitter.com/bromanw for more updates on my positions. Have a great day everyone!
Chris K August 16, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Half a percent here, that is known. But for some in this country 1% of a population having something the other 99% does not have seems rather significant. I guess it is a matter of perspective.
Kathy Abke August 16, 2012 at 01:19 PM
Lisa - I get my information from attending all the school board meetings.
GP For Life August 16, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Ms. Gafa, thank you for your service to our community and I wish you the best of luck in your upcoming campaign. One thing I would suggest, and volunteer to join, is a legal action committee to fight the skulduggery known as "Schools of Choice".
GP For Life August 16, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Kathy, I am hoping that the school board will use these exams to place students in the proper grade level and not just reallocate resources to bring the kids up to speed. I can tell you that even in non-failing school districts and respected private schools there is a pronounced difference between our graduates and theirs. We simply have a better product and I don't want to see it watered-down.
Lisa C. August 16, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Kathy - I too have been attending the board meetings and speaking with out-going Rep. Tim Bledsoe. Previously, I have been told that testing of transfer students was a no-no. If the board has changed its mind or found a way to do that - GREAT!
Lisa C. August 16, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Hi Will, Glad you could join us. I will make sure to visit your website. Now on to the verification of residency. I would be interested in any long term solutions that could be worked out (as would the Bloomfield and Birmingham school districts). However, at the moment, I feel the only avenue we have available is the re-verification at registration and enforcing reimbursement for when students are caught (which is not being done). With Gov. Synder's next attack on our districts under way via a rewrite of the Michigan School Aid Act (SAF) we need to stay on top of this (thank-you Ms. Gafa). My viewpoint may be a bit radical but - mandatory schools of choice or not checking residency - what's the difference?
Judy Gafa August 16, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Thank You GP For Life, I am on the board of a community activist committee that met last year and has established a grass roots connection with several other communities who prefer local control. We have already met about the Govenor's new plan that does include mandated School of Choice and are developing a game plan as I write this. I post updates on my Facebook page Judy Gafa Grosse Pointe Trustee. Also the community committee is MCLC (Michigan Communities for Local Contro) this group was instrumental in preventing the mandate last year and has a facebook page that I encourage everyone to join.
Eric Kam August 17, 2012 at 01:10 PM
is it a valid takeaway from this comment thread, that people view the 3 candidates as thus Gafa v. Broman (with Pangborn getting a pass?). Seems that some folks take issue with Judy's prior and current stances & William's "telecommuting", but how come there is no discussion on Cindy Pangborn stance or visibility. Or am I missing something?
Brendan Walsh August 17, 2012 at 05:08 PM
The Grosse Pointe Public School System has long used entrance exams (NWEA for example) to ascertain the unique needs of students, used to identify need for remediation or advanced coursework. So some of the practices being called for in this string have been in place for years. Tests used to ascertain current skill level for placement purposes is radically different than entrance exams, meaning that if a student were not to perform well enough they could be denied entrance to the district. That, indeed, would be a "no no" for a public school system like the GPPSS. We cannot and would not deny a student entrance based on their academic skill or capacity. I hope this explanation is helpful to that portion of the discussion. Brendan Walsh
George R. McMullen Jr. August 17, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Brendan excellent explanation thanks
Diane Smith August 17, 2012 at 11:41 PM
1. Gafa Tie for 2nd with Pangborn & Broman Present but not effective vs. not present & unknown effectiveness. If I had to vote today, I would vote for "Youth for Youth" and go with Billy B. - feel free to use that as a campaign slogan.
Ranae Beyerlein, PhD August 18, 2012 at 12:43 PM
Thanks, KA, for your perspective. If we do a per pupil cost analysis, the only reason that a student, who needs special services, might cost the district more than what the state sends the district for that student, would be if that student takes more classes than other students. At the HS, students take 7 periods of state paid instruction. At the MS, it's 6 periods. At the ES, each student has a gen ed classroom teacher, and if the student is "pulled" to receive "remediation," those teachers, who provide those services, are generally paid by federal funds through Title I, or through Special (Ed) Services funding. And any "GPer" for life should know that it is our excellent educational system that attracts families with school-aged children to our community. Rather than spend $ to rid ourselves of 4 or 5 non-residents per year, let's spend the $ hiring qualified instruction to help those student needing supplemental instruction, who choose to make the financial sacrifices to bring their families to the community.
Lisa C. August 18, 2012 at 04:15 PM
A placement exam is exactly what I had in mind. However, I am not aware of any testing prior to a transfer student being registered and placed. It seems to me we are mostly getting the information after the MEAP and NWEA scores are reported - which is sort of like "closing the gate after all the cows get out". I suppose you could ask the transfer student to bring in their latest test scores to help with placement. How would your handle the situation of an incoming 9th grade student testing at a 5th or 6th grade level in several different areas. Now consider that you have a significant number of incoming students with the same issues (the situation I think we are currently in)? Even if the funds for this remedial learning are covered by the Feds, what is the most cost effective and least disruptive way to handle this? Would it be possible to group them together in a "one room school house" of sorts? Hopefully peer pressure would get the kids to grade level quicker and back with the correct age group. On a larger scale, would Barnes lend itself to this? This thread has wandered far from the original theme of telecommuting. I look forward to more discussion at board meetings.
Cheri Trefney GPEA President August 20, 2012 at 01:55 AM
The GPEA does not endorse any political candidates other than GPPS school board candidates. The GPEA did not endorse Mr. Banks and he has been asked to correct his campaign literature.
GPMom August 20, 2012 at 03:59 AM
Hey Mr. Broman...instead of trying to fill in your college resume. Why don't you finish your degree, then move back to Grosse Pointe, get a job, buy a house, pay some taxes and then you might be remotely qualified to thinking about decisions related to a multi-million dollar budget, such as the GPPSS. Our School Board makes it look easy to manage our budget and all the tasks that are involved. You have no idea the time, energy and effort that this board puts forth everyday! This prestigious school system deserves someone that lives in the community, is available all the time, and that has a resume other than being 20 years old. Perhaps Billy if you are looking to fill your free time, try joining intramurals, yearbook, a fraternity or some other campus activity.
peter August 21, 2012 at 03:31 AM
RB PhD-- With all due respect, some ways that at-risk or special needs students are more costly for the district (money, energy and time) are: the several meetings that are held for these kids, in which several highly paid employees sit around and make plans on how to help these kids succeed in school (pre-referrals, REEDS, METS, IEP, BIPS, emergency meetings, etc). Also, teachers of these students typically meet formally and informally multiple times a year for consultations on how to handle these students. In addition, the plans the teachers have to implement (BIPS, RtI or IEP) typically take added energy and time from the teachers on a daily basis and this comes at the expense of providing that energy to the other students. And with all this being said in addition to extra state and federal funds allocated to these students to plan and remediate these kids the results both locally and nationally are not good. We are not getting a big bang for our buck.
William Broman August 21, 2012 at 05:08 AM
@GPMom, A few brief points: Please extend to me the courtesy of using my full name, or a nickname that I use regularly when criticizing me in the manner that you did. Billy is not a name I have ever used and I find it condescending. I don't believe I have ever said that managing a budget the size of GPPSS would be easy. It is very clear from Trustee Walsh's blog that there is a great deal of time and energy that gets put into the budget. I have never said that I knew the time, energy, and effort that board members put into their position everyday. There is no need for me to get into any kind of argument without knowing your name, or even if you are a Grosse Pointe resident. While I am busy most of tomorrow morning and afternoon, I am around Wednesday and would love to meet you and hopefully relieve some of your concerns about my candidacy. Call me at your convenience, know that I will be in meetings on Tuesday (today) from 9am until about noon and won't be able to answer. 313-530-4660 I look forward to hearing from you!
George R. McMullen Jr. August 21, 2012 at 11:44 AM
While all issues for the school system are important and residency is certainly one of those issues I thought I would post my comment about last nights school board work session that I put on face book this am…. “A very informative School board meting last night with great but disturbing reports from Dr. Jon Dean and Mr. Aaron Johnson. Disturbing also was the community attendance. While not mentioning names there were approximately 10 people in the audience with only two (2) that were not being paid to be there. The kicker is both attendees not being paid to be at the meeting were bachelors. I will let the community draw there own conclusions”
Diane Smith August 21, 2012 at 12:47 PM
The beauty of this post is that the SUPPOSED adult, (GPMom) in their (her) attempt to slander Mr. Broman, actually exposed his great character and maturity beyond his years. For that alone William, you have my vote. And for you, the alleged GPMom = No comment!
Lisa C. August 21, 2012 at 01:12 PM
Bold move Will, hope it works out. GPMom- I don't think you need to actually own the house you live in and pay taxes (think renters) to be sufficiently invested in this community. Maybe he'd like to see the school system survive so that when he has graduated, gotten a job,etc., he will still want to live in GP. If he does get elected - he would be the only member of the board with FIRST HAND KNOWLEDGE of what is currently going on in the schools (at least North anyway). I'm tired of the school board dismissing parents because of "rumors".
George R. McMullen Jr. August 21, 2012 at 09:40 PM
Would like to amend my above comment.... the information was not disturbing a better word would be revealing. The good news is that with the addition of Dr. Tom Harwood and Dr. Jon Dean to the administration benchmarking comparisons and data analysis will make the Grosse Pointe Public School system much better prepared to educate our students and track results. I encourage all residents to attend school board meetings the next date is 8/27/2012 the new direction and benchmarking reports are fascinating...


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