Schools of Thought
Grand Rapids Public Schools has been through a lot in the last few years: nearly half of its budget slashed by State cuts, the challenges of educating Kent County's poorest residents, dwindling urban population and a perception problem that plagues many of the advances it tries to make.
Yet, it has a balanced budget, is doing more with less than it has ever done, has more public/private partnerships than any other district in the State and judiciously used $165 Million in millage funds to upgrade many of its schools and facilities with such stewardship that they came in under budget and were able to invest in additional infrastructure improvements. That's right: under budget and on time. GRPS was even given accolades by the Detroit News for being a model for struggling Southeast Michigan school districts.
Now, GRPS stands at a new crossroads with new leadership on the horizon, a millage being sought for "Warm, Safe and Dry Schools
" on Nov. 8, and increasing pressure from the State to expand charter schools.
On Oct. 19, Rapid Growth readers and other audience members got to hear from impassioned parents, administrators, teachers, principals and other GRPS leaders about what the future holds for the district and what work needs to be done in the near term.
If you missed the event, check out the video below to get a recap.
(the audio picks up at about the :45 second mark)