The West Bloomfield Schools Board of Education at its Monday, June 25 meeting will discuss potential scenarios for its facilities based on the findings presented in a preliminary report submitted by Western Demographics.
The recommended scenario involves the closure of Ealy Elementary School in the fall of 2013, converting Doherty Elementary School to a kindergarten through second-grade (K-2) school, converting Sheiko Elementary to a third-grade through fifth-grade (3-5) school, and separating Roosevelt Elementary into two sections for K-2 and 3-5 students.
Also proposed was the immediate closure of the Administrative and Community Services Building, with its staff being relocated to West Bloomfield High School.
Total potential savings for the district could total $725,000 annually.
The consultant’s report indicated that enrollment in the district has been declining during recent years and is projected to continue to do so.
“I don’t expect there to be any action before August and September,” School Board President Bruce Tobin said. “I’m concerned about the inconsistency in the predictions of the demographers. The pace of decline is inconsistent.”
The school board previously approved a contract for Western Demographics, Inc. to conduct a facility utilization and enrollment trend study for $70,000. The district then held six focus group meetings for parents and residents to give their opinions on the district’s school enrollment and facilities project.
At the sessions, parents and residents were shown demographic maps of the district, broken down into enrollment by schools, and enrollment of resident and Schools of Choice students.
Attendees also had the chance to cast anonymous votes on issues regarding school enrollment, consolidation, and priorities for the district.
The focus group results showed that most participants were ready for school closure, that consistent grade reconfiguration was needed and that preschools in individual buildings make sense.
Two open house meetings were also held, with most participants supporting two of five scenarios, which both involve the closure of one elementary school each in the Abbott and Orchard Lake middle school feeder areas, and the Administrative and Community Services Building.
Tobin said that ideally, he would like to see another separate building that would house kindergarten through second-grade students only and a building specifically for students in third- through fifth-grade.
Currently, Gretchko Elementary School hosts kindergarten and first-grade students only, while Scotch houses students from second- to fifth-grade.
The school board is expected to receive a final report from the district’s Ad Hoc committee prior to the final reading of the issue on June 25.