Grand Rapids Public Schools
GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - Big changes may be coming to the Grand Rapids public schools.
To save money and improve academic achievement, the administration wants to close schools, consolidate athletic programs and require students to wear uniforms to class.
"This is a transformation plan," explains superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal. "We need to compete. This is about academic achievement."
The superintendent's plan is available online, as is a copy of a letter sent home to GRPS parents.
Administrators say they could save almost $5 million per year by closing Creston High and nine other buildings, but the superintendent says the main goal of her transformation plan is to give every student access to a high quality school.
"Creston High School is a hard pill for me to swallow," she says. "I'm a Creston Polar Bear. But we have to say what's best for all students, what's best for the entire district."
"What are they going to do with the school?" wonders Vince Cantu, who lives nearby. "I'm shocked. I don't know what to say."
The superintendent says she doesn't know if they will sell the schools scheduled to close or how they will be utilized in the future.
The transformation plan also consolidates high school athletic programs from three competing teams to two, East and West.
The district has scheduled a series of public hearings on the transformation plan before the board is planning a final vote December 17.
"This isn't in stone," says board president Senita Lenear. "This is the third phase of our brainstorming session. We are seeing all of what we have shared through the brainstorming process on paper so we can begin to tweak it and take it to the community and get their feedback."