The West Bloomfield Schools Board of Education will now wait until its next meeting, on Aug. 27, to listen to the final report from Western Demographics regarding scenarios for the district facilities’ use.
A presentation on the final report appeared on the board’s agenda for its Monday, June 25 meeting, with Shannon Bingham, a Western Demographics consultant, set to recommend the closure of Ealy Elementary School in the fall of 2013, converting Doherty Elementary School to a kindergarten through second-grade (K-2) school, and converting Sheiko Elementary School to a third-grade through fifth-grade (3-5) school. Special education students affected by autistic spectrum disorder would be moved to Doherty and Sheiko.
Bingham was also set to recommend the future closure of the Administrative and Community Services Building, with its staff being relocated to West Bloomfield High School.
However, Bingham’s final report was pulled from the June 25 board meeting agenda because, according to Bingham, the board members will have an opportunity to visit the buildings potentially affected in order to be comfortable with a decision.
“A lot of it has to do with the placement of special education programs,” Bingham said. “The district is taking the appropriate time to insure that those activities are conducted in an appropriate manner. The board will have time to internalize the issues, especially with the new superintendent coming in.”
Total potential savings for the district under the consultants’ recommendations could total $725,000 a year.
The consultant’s preliminary report indicated that enrollment in the district has been declining in recent years and is projected to continue to do so.
The district recently held six focus group meetings for parents and residents to give their opinions on the district’s school enrollment and facilities project.
The focus group results showed that most participants were ready for school closures, 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, both of which involve the closure of one elementary school each in the Abbott and Orchard Lake middle school feeder areas, and closure of the Administrative and Community Services Building.