Reimagine GRPS with Us! Safe, Healthy and Healing Schools

Reimagine GRPS with Us!

Zero-Tax-Rate-Increase Bond Opportunity – Tuesday, November 7

Not a tax rate increase, it’s a tax rate currently being paid by property owners in Grand Rapids.


The GRPS Bond Proposal would extend the existing property tax rate (3.85 mills) to generate $305 million in investment dollars for Reimagining our schools. 

Click here to download more information about the Reimagine GRPS with Us! Zero-Tax-Rate-Increase bond opportunity.

Bonding Proposal for November 7 Election

Shall Grand Rapids Public Schools, Kent County, Michigan, borrow a sum of not to exceed Three Hundred Five Million Dollars ($305,000,000) and issue its general obligation, unlimited tax bonds in two or more series for the purposes of:

purchasing, erecting, completing, remodeling, and equipping or reequipping school buildings, including library buildings, auditoriums, structures, athletic fields, playgrounds, playfields and other facilities, and parts of or additions to those facilities, and acquiring, preparing, developing and improving sites, or parts of or additions to sites, for school buildings;

furnishing or refurnishing school buildings and parts of or additions to those facilities; and

acquiring, installing, and equipping or reequipping school buildings and parts of or additions to school buildings for technology, technology infrastructure and safety and security improvements?

The following is for informational purposes:

The annual millage required to pay the debt service on the proposed and outstanding bonds is estimated to remain at or below the 2023 levy of 3.85 mills. The estimated millage that will be levied for the proposed bonds in 2024 is 1.00 mills ($1.00 for each $1,000 of taxable valuation) for a zero (0) mill increase from the prior year's levy.  The estimated simple average annual millage rate required to retire the bonds is 1.83 mills ($1.83 for each $1,000 of taxable valuation).  The maximum number of years that any series of the bonds may be outstanding, exclusive of any refunding, will not exceed twenty-six (26) years from the date of each issue.

(Pursuant to State law, expenditure of bond proceeds must be audited, and the bond proceeds cannot be used for maintenance costs, teacher, administrator or employee salaries, or other operating expenses.)



Register to Vote

By mail: Register online, by mail, at the City Clerk or at a Secretary of State branch office by Monday, October 23.
In-person: Register to vote in person at your city or township clerk’s office between Tuesday, October 24 and Election Day.

Voting Absentee

Requests to have an absent voter ballot mailed to you must be received by your clerk no later than 5 p.m. the Friday before the election. All voted mail-in and absentee ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Voting In-Person

Polls will be open on November 7 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Click here to locate your Absentee Voter Drop Box or Polling Location.

The ‘Zero-Tax-Rate-Increase’ Bond Proposal prioritizes major challenges facing the district:

  • Improving academic outcomes
  • Historical inequities
  • Safety & security
  • Staffing shortages
  • Annual structural budget deficit - a result of too many buildings and not enough staff
  • Affordable housing

Bond Funds CAN Be Used For

  • Purchase, erect, complete, remodel, and equip school buildings structures, athletic fields, playgrounds or other facilities
  • Acquiring, installing, or equipping school buildings for technology
  • Other capital expenditures
  • Costs of bond issuance

Bond Funds CANNOT Be Used For

  • Upgrades to operating systems or applications software except if purchased with qualifying hardware
  • Training, consulting, service contracts or other software support
  • Staff wages or benefits or operations of any kind

Bond Program Distributions

  • Educational Building Construction (New, Add’s, Reno’s) to equal $233,621,642
  • Consolidation Improvements to equal $29,147,998
  • Renovations of Auditoriums to equal $12,714,904
  • Renovations of Athletics to equal $12,714,904
  • Technology to equal $7,360,206
  • Playgrounds to equal $3,826,516
  • Safety & Security to equal $5,613,829

Proposed budget based on current, best estimates and may be subject to change. Any adjustments require a vote of the Grand Rapids Board of Education at a public meeting.

Bond Program Distributions Graph

Safe, Healthy and Healing Schools

The Reimagine GRPS with Us! vision and plan framework is truly a compilation of more than two years of work listening and learning from the voices, ideas, experience and wisdom of our scholars, parents, caregivers, teachers, support staff, school leaders and community partners.

Together, we formed key objectives to guide our vision and plan for creating safe, healthy and healing schools.


  • Prioritize customer service, responsiveness and communication expectations with continual feedback loops and on-going evaluation.
  • Each school to prioritize healing-centered themes like: Social, Emotional Wellness; Restorative Justice; Healing-Centered Engagement; Customer Service; Anti-Bias Education; etc.
  • Quadrant-based Open Houses with community partners with co-facilitators (Partner and GRPS), co-construction of agendas and two-way sharing that centers scholars – quarterly Claim and situate all schools to operationalize their theme of safe, healing and healthy
  • Create an app (Reimagine GRPS) opening up real-time data for our champions pertaining issues that matter the most - foster related systems (regular cadence of website updates) - expand who provides feedback
  • Exploration of philanthropic partnership to offer mini-grants to scholar, caregiver and teacher-centered initiatives through participatory budgeting
  • Collaboration around our success matrix pertaining key topics - acknowledging while the district has always endeavored to do its best with resources it has, our community has experienced hurt and harm
  • Regular Superintendent Highlight and Update Videos
  • Deepen structures and practices related to our Grow Your Own initiatives, while strengthening our First Three Years Educator programming and support
  • Establish a “model classroom” in each school
  • Amplification of the role of PALS in quadrants
  • Offer incentives for all staff leading and serving in our partnership schools: Campus, Alger and Ottawa
  • Incentivize scholar-centered clubs in our partnership schools


  • Fully staffing schools with priority focus on fully staffing schools with Black and Latinx students.
    • The reality is our state and nation are facing historic teacher and
      school staffing shortages. GRPS has too many buildings, not enough
      students and not enough teachers and support staff – who are spread thin between the 42 school buildings. With 450 vacant staff positions, it is necessary to close and consolidate school to help ensure our schools are fully staffed - without any layoffs.
  • Increased investment in equitable education opportunities with priority focus on neighborhood schools and SE-side schools
  • New, improved and expanded state of the art school facilities with the latest instructional technology and education spaces for enhancing teaching and learning for all scholars
  • Maintaining one-to-one technology for all scholars and teachers
  • Provide support to our teachers through initiatives such as offering Spanish courses for staff at no cost and launching school support meetings
  • Expanding the number of Elective, Advanced Placement, Dual Enrollment and Experiential course
  • Expanding resources/accessibility to social emotional mental health services and support for scholars/staff. Increased training and staffing for social-emotional and mental health services. As described in our repair criteria, we will offer services and honor the two-generation, caregiver systems approach
  • Increasing scholar voice in decision making for school and district improvement planning with emphasis on increasing scholar engagement, belonging and social-emotional support. Dedicating funds for students to decide how to invest in their schools utilizing the Scholar Advisory Committees.


  • Ensure equitable investments in our boys and girls’ sports teams to support competitiveness and state of the art facilities comparable to our peer districts
  • Fully fund Ottawa Hills and Union High Building Champions campaign improvements (locker rooms, weight rooms, fields, tennis courts, gymnasiums and more)
  • Renovations/improvements to pools at Ottawa Hills, Union and City High Schools
  • Houseman Field improvements
  • Increase stipends to ensure fully staffed coaching for all teams


  • Major renovations to Ottawa Hills High School, Union High School, Innovation Central High School, City High School and Burton Elementary/Middle School auditoriums to transform them into state-of-the-art performance halls
  • New, improved and renovated art and music spaces at elementary and middle schools
  • Maintain and expand menu of options for art and music classes


  • Expanding after-school program opportunities to increase accessibility and serve more scholars
  • As part of our repair criteria, whatever is offered in one half of the district is offered in the other half (North and South) - scholars do not have to go outside of their home half to access GRPS Programming
  • New, improved, expanded playgrounds
  • New, improved, expanded and more equitably available and accessible extra-curricular offerings (e.g. STEM Greenhouse, debate, mock trial, chess club, robotics, hip hop clubs, poetry/spoken word, etc.)
  • New, improved, expanded partnership with the City of Grand Rapids Parks & Recreation Department to activate greenspaces, athletic facilities, playgrounds and pools, aligned with Green Grand Rapids Master Plan and prioritizing 3rd Ward/49507


  • Annual air quality monitoring of all schools for CO2, humidity and temperature with targeted investments based on findings.
  • Investment in new/improved HVAC systems and ensure all schools have air conditioning

The reality is the district has too many buildings and not enough support staff due to the significant number of vacancies in custodial, grounds, maintenance and food service. The closure and consolidation of schools, coupled with staff retention and recruitment efforts, will improve the quality of staffing and services in our schools.


  • Investing in custodial/grounds/maintenance improvements to ensure buildings and grounds are regularly cleaned and well maintained. The closure and consolidation of schools will help address staffing shortage issues that have contributed to the challenges of regular groundskeeping, maintenance and cleaning. 
  • Investing in transportation improvements to ensure students are on-time, ready to learn. This includes instituting a tracking process for contract standards and service provisions, reinstituting the parent committee dedicated to transportation improvements and quarterly reports to the Board of Education. The closure and consolidation of schools will reduce the number of yellow bus runs and help ensure transportation is fully staffed and yellow buses on-time frequency is better.
  • Investing in food service improvements to ensure all students have access to high quality, free school meals – informed by scholar voice – that influence academic readiness. The closure and consolidation of schools will help ensure food service is fully staffed.



  • Continued investment in secure entry ways
  • New, improved and expanded school safety technology
  • New, improved and expanded visitor management system 
  • Expanding professional development and training opportunities for scholars, parents, caregivers and staff on school safety, gun safety and overall public safety


  • Our repair criteria states how we will prioritize repurposing our closed buildings for affordable housing and green spaces first
  • Leveraging district assets (facilities, property, greenspace) by seeking out partnership opportunities for vacated schools and sites. Prioritizing that GRPS maintain ownership for future asset decisions.
  • Prioritize affordable housing development options for families with children, GRPS teachers and support staff


Reimagine GRPS News & Announcments

GRPS launches ‘Reimagine’ dashboard to help community track progress

Reimagine Dashboard

After-School & Extracurricular
Air Quality
Facilities / Food / Transportation
Safety and Security
Repurposing Vacant, Closed & Underutilized Facilities / Property

The Reimagine GRPS with Us! Framework highlights the objectives for creating safe, healthy and healing schools and provides background and high-level summary of the leading factors, plans and inputs that informed the development of the Reimagine GRPS with Us! vision framework including: 

  • GRPS Transformation Plan
  • Leadership Transition
  • COVID-19 Timeline & Impact
  • 2022-2027 GRPS Strategic Plan
  • Facilities Master Plan
  • Reimagined: Community Engagement Report
  • Housing Affordability & Student Retention Report

Framework Referenced Reports

Zero-Tax-Rate-Increase Bond Opportunity

GRPS Transformation Plan

2022-2027 Strategic Plan

Facilities Master Plan

Reimagined: Becoming West Michigan's District of Choice


Contact Us

Call (616) 819-2149