Bloomfield Schools explores school restructuring
A bond may be requested of Bloomfield Hills Schools' voters in the future, after critical needs were identified, but first a committee comprising board members, administrators, educators and interested community members are studying whether a reconfiguration of the district's elementary and middle schools would be a future option. A district-wide facilities and technologies assessment identified $33 million in critical needs over the next three years, board of education President Paul Kolin wrote in an email to parents, residents and stakeholders. He said there are two options to look at, one is to fund the projects and “put band-aids on our aging facilities while keeping the current configuration of our district,” which includes having elementary students in middle school buildings as they have shifted to fourth through eighth grades, and middle schools with enrollment too small to effectively offer special programs. The second option would be to explore new and better facilities by reconfiguring the buildings. “Do we go from three middle schools to two, or three middle schools to one?” asked Kolin. “We're just exploring, looking at what other districts are doing, looking at what are the opportunities, and the emotional advantages and/or disadvantages of going from a 400-person building to a 1,200-person building. We're at a very early stage in discussion.” Kolin said the board would prefer to not just spend the large sum of money to update the buildings. “It would just be a band-aid,” he said. “We want to take it to the next step.” That next step would likely result in the board asking the community for a substantial bond initiative, Kolin said, “but we're no where near putting it on the ballot.” Currently, two committees were formed, Focus Panels and Scope and Design Committee, representing a broad spectrum of the community and educators, which are exploring all the various options. Kolin said more information will be provided at future board meetings, where members of the public can provide comments.