Southfield district to merge high schools as part of new plan

Big Southfield school district changes are on the way.

The school board decided to merge high schools among a slate of planned changes, which also includes the closure of  two K-8 schools.

School Board members also voted on several changes that will take place for the 2015-2016 school year, which include freezes on wage increases, vacancies, and new hires pending student enrollment.

The closing of Adler will come in the 2016-17 school year along with the closing of Brace Lederle schools. That school year will also see the creation of one unified high school located on the campus of Southfield High School, and the creation of a K through 12 university campus that will consist of students from University High School Academy, UPREP and MacArthur University - which are application and examination schools.

The K through 12 campus will utilize the current Southfield Lathrup High School and Bussey facilities.

Some parents are not happy at the recently announced changes from the Imagine 2020 Initiative.

For example, the Green family chose to live in Southfield because they were confident their children would receive a great public school education.

So far they are happy with the education their three kids are receiving at Adler, but after recent changes that include closing it, they are having second thoughts.

"We like the small town feel, the small-town atmosphere," says James Green, a concerned parent. "The principle, Mr. Tate, is great, involved with the parents and all the activities. The parents know each other."

Yolanda Charles, vice president of the Board of Education, says the changes are part of the Imagine 2020 Initiative which officials say is designed to promote quality, choice and sustainability.

"The goal is to have a much more in depth and comprehensive program that will be available to all the students in the district," Charles said. "Lansing is not making our job easy, continually taking and giving the illusion that they are giving."

Although some families are upset by the changes, district officials say the changes will create more opportunities for students.

"I am hopeful that this five-year plan, this 2020 vision will increase enrollment, increase test scores and provide quality education," Charles says.

Critics of the changes are also concerned about football rivalries and some traditions that will become a thing of the past.

"It will soon not feel like Lathrup kids, Bluejay kids," Charles says. "It will soon feel like a body of one. And that's why this next school year is important to help facilitate that."

Still, Green is not convinced that all the changes are good and he worries about the future education of his children.

"I don't want to live in a metropolis and that's what it feels like they're trying to build, the school system into a metropolis."

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