What is a “Facilities Master Plan”?
The Facilities Master Plan (FMP) will be put together with input and consultation from the community to guide the district on how to best utilize its buildings. The FMP will be grounded by the 2022-2027 Strategic Plan with a focus on assuring the district’s resources are invested in scholar achievement.
Is my child’s school closing?
No plans for school closures have been made at this point though district leaders do expect that some programs will consolidate once the Facilities Master Plan is finalized. Currently, the district is utilizing about half of its scholar capacity which means millions of dollars are being spent to maintain building space that our scholars do not need. Those dollars could be used to invest in our scholars and used to improve, renovate, and revitalize the space they do need. No decisions will be made until district leaders and the Board of Education hear from scholar families and community members about what they want to see for the future of Grand Rapids Public Schools.
Why is enrollment declining at GRPS?
There are multiple reasons for declining enrollment in our schools. Increasing education options, a lack of affordable housing within the district boundaries, declining birth rates, and the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted enrollment.
Will there be job cuts?
No job cuts are anticipated as part of the Facilities Master Plan. In fact, Grand Rapids Public Schools is hiring! We are actively recruiting the best and brightest team members who are ready to share their gifts with our scholars.
How will these changes benefit my child?
The benefit of our scholars is central to the Facilities Master Plan. The decisions we make together with the community will allow us to refocus our dollars on our scholars. This means renovating, revitalizing, and reimagining the space we use for scholars’ learning by cutting out the costly expense of maintaining space we do not need. The savings will also provide the opportunity for additional support services for scholars.
How will the plans deliver equity?
Equity will be a critical part of the considerations for the Facilities Master Plan. The first step to delivering equity is to make sure that all parts of our community are well-represented in the voices participating in the development of the Facilities Master Plan.
How can I voice my concerns or share my questions?
District leaders have planned a series of 11 Town Hall meetings where scholar families and community members will have a chance to share their vision for the district’s future. We’ve also set up an email account for questions about the Facilities Master Plan: myschools@GRPS.org. Community input is critical to creating a successful FMP and we want to hear from as many of our community members as we can.
Where can I find new information as decisions are made?
The Board of Education and Superintendent Dr. Leadriane Roby are committed to transparency in this process and keeping our community informed. We will share regular updates at grps.org and update this Frequently Asked Questions page as the process moves forward.
When will we start to see changes taking place?
The timing on changes will not be decided until we hear the input from our community. Changes are not anticipated any time before the 2024-25 school year.
What would happen to the unused building if its decided that it won’t be used as scholar education space?
The district is committed to using property owned by Grand Rapids Public Schools for the betterment of the community. Possibilities include parkland, green space, affordable housing, and community centers. The FMP will prioritize maintaining district ownership of its current buildings and land.
How will we ensure that teachers and scholars are centered?
Teachers and scholars will be at the center of the Facilities Master Plan and they will be critical voices in the development and implementation of the plan. We will engage them in the process using surveys, town hall meetings, and open dialogue. Special attention will go to making sure that voices in each quadrant are appropriately represented in our discussions.
What analysis has occurred to assess GRPS trends on school size, mobility patterns, etc. and how have these learnings been factored into the concepts being presented now?
Grand Rapids Public Schools partnered with outside consulting firm Plante Moran Cresa to conduct an analysis of our school facilities and how we are using them. These findings are being used as the data-based foundation for the creation of the Facilities Master Plan. Plante Moran Cresa has a database of about 400 Michigan school facilities that give them a basis for sizes and patterns taken into consideration for their recommendations.
How will we frame the timeline and communicate with families and parents?
No changes to GRPS facilities will happen this school year. Families should feel confident that our buildings will remain as they are this year. The rollout of the plan will not happen all at once and is expected to start in the 2024-25 school year at the earliest. The timing of changes will be a part of the conversation and all stakeholders will be engaged in this part of the conversation as well.
Further define what “right size” looks like.
Experts recommend that school buildings have an 85% utilization rate. This allows room for growth, but limits wasted space and resources.
How will the Board of Education make its final decision?
The Board of Education is elected to serve the best interest of our scholars. The Board is committed to equity and excellence in the Facilities Master Plan. The Board will rely heavily on guidance from the community and the needs of our scholars for generations to come. The final plan will support our scholars in the classroom by ensuring a positive, more sustainable financial position for Grand Rapids Public Schools.