In December 2022, the Grand Rapids Board of Education voted unanimously to approve the GRPS Facilities Master Plan, an extension of the 2022 GRPS Strategic Plan - Strategic Theme #6 (“Create a culture of trust, collaboration and stewardship”). This included seven key points:
- Ensure sustainability and align with the Strategic Plan by aiming for an average 75% utilization across the district, with an emphasis on elementary and middle schools.
- Enrollment and utilization rates to be assessed annually to ensure Facilities Master Plan, Strategic Plan, and Academic Plan implementations are improving measurable strategic outcomes.
- Relocation of scholars and staff will be implemented to preserve programs, prioritize equitable access and improve learning environments of our schools.
- Be responsive and transparent with our community by producing a Facilities Master Plan calendar that includes continual stakeholder engagement and communication milestones on a regular basis.
- Providing continuation of funding for the implementation of the Facilities Master Plan through a capital program initiated in November 2023.
- Use district assets for community benefit by seeking out partnership opportunities for vacated schools and sites once program replacements have been identified. In these partnerships, GRPS would prioritize property ownership with future asset decisions.
- Reduce current operating costs and resource inefficiencies by leveling Kensington and reducing financial responsibility for Alexander during fiscal year 2023.
With feedback from the Grand Rapids Board of Education, this led to the development of a timeline that included additional engagement prioritized for internal and external partners who were not well represented in the data from the fall 2022 engagement efforts on the Facilities Master Plan as well as engagement with SW residents on the Kensington options. The goal was for the data from the engagement efforts to inform recommendations and a draft plan to present to the board in May.
“Based on input from the board, cabinet, central office and school leaders, teachers, support staff, parents, and community partners, we heard very clearly that we need more time for engagement, more time to develop the plan, more time to engage the board and we need to change the name so that it is more inclusive of the collective input that is shaping the plan,” said Dr. Leadriane Roby, Superintendent of Schools.
To that end, the name of the plan changed to Reimagine GRPS with Us! and the timeline shifted with final presentation and vote on the vision and plan framework and the ballot language for the ‘no-new-tax’ bond proposal now scheduled for the July 17 BOE meeting.
“It is important to note that the board will be voting on just the vision, framework, bond budget allocation for the Reimagine GRPS with Us! Plan and the ballot language for the November 7 election,” said Dr Roby. “It will not include specific facilities or school buildings that may need to be closed, consolidated, repurposed, renovated or constructed. The outcome of the ‘no-new-tax’ bond vote will play a significant role in shaping the final recommendations for facilities which will be developed after the November 7 election.”
GRPS is considering a November 7 ballot proposal that would extend the existing voter-approve tax rate of 3.85 mills by 20 years which would generate $290 million for the Reimagine GRPS with Us! Plan. The 3.85 mills are a combination of the two different bond proposals that were approved by voters in 2004 and 2015. This is not a new tax nor is it a tax rate increase – it is a property tax rate that taxpayers are currently paying.
The following is a tentative timeline that outlines the sequence of actions that will happen between now and the end of 2023. This schedule does not include all committee and BOE meetings. The intent is to provide context for key votes that will take place on July 17, November 7, and December 4 that will inform the Reimagine GRPS with Us! Plan development and implementation.
Reimagine GRPS with Us! Plan Framework and Bond Proposal
April 18: Academic Committee Meeting: Academic Visioning Work Update
April 19: Ad Hoc Facilities Committee: Kensington Public Hearing update, Housing/ Community Use Research Proposal
May 8: BOE Work Session: Overview of Internal/External Engagement Scope of Work
May 22: Finance Committee: First review of bond budget
June 9: Last Day of School
June 12: BOE Work Session: Presentation of Eureka Group Internal/External Engagement Report
June 20: Academic Committee Meeting: Internal/External Engagement Report Review/Discussion, recommendation for proposed PK-12 Structure
June 21: Ad Hoc Facilities Committee: Discussion on Housing/ Community Use Research
June 26: Finance Committee: Final review of bond budget
July 10: BOE Work Session: Presentation of Draft Reimagine GRPS with Us! Plan Vision, Framework and Bond Ballot Language
July 17: BOE Vote on Reimagine GRPS with Us! Vision, Framework and Bond Ballot Language
August 15: Deadline for Clerk to Certify Ballot Language
September - November: Informational Education Communication on Reimagine GRPS with Us! Plan and Bond Proposal
November 7: Election Day
November 13: BOE Work Session: Review of election results, update on Reimagine GRPS with Us! Plan and Timeline
November 14: Academic Achievement Committee: Review recommendations for Reimagine GRPS with Us! Plan
November 15: Ad Hoc Facilities: Review recommendations for Reimagine GRPS with Us! Plan
November 20: Public Hearing on Reimagine GRPS with Us! Plan BOE meeting
November 27: Finance Committee: Finalize Reimagine GRPS with Us! Plan budget
December 4: BOE meeting: Vote on Reimagine GRPS with Us! Plan and Budget
December 11: BOE Work Session: Review communications and implementation plan and timeline for January-December 2024