First school closure proposed for shrinking Grosse Pointe district

Declining enrollment is a problem for many public schools in our state, with districts trying to figure out how to make up for those lost tax dollars. That's the case right now in Grosse Pointe, where leaders are now weighing whether to consolidate or even close certain schools.

Community members learned at a meeting Thursday night which schools are in jeopardy. 

A Blue Ribbon Committee of parents, school officials and taxpayers were presented with eight scenarios at the meeting. It's not set in stone but during an informal survey, the committee voted to close Mason Elementary and make Kirby Elementary an early-development childcare center. 

"The Board of Education themselves has never had a discussion on any of these plans. We have seen them separately, and I have called for meetings," said Grosse Pointe School Board member Cindy Pangborn. "Before we ask the community to do all of this, the school system needs to do for ourself and look at our budget. There are many cuts in the budget that I have suggested and haven't come to fruition,"

"I definitely know we have declining enrollment and the Blue Ribbon committee has worked hard to determine that we need to close an elementary school or two or three if we all want to make our financial needs for the future," said Grosse Pointe Public Schools superintendent Gary Niehaus.

"Unfortunately hey're all looking for a quick fix of a lump of money instead of really working through it, doing a line by line budget, reevaluating everything as though we're starting the school system financially over," Pangborn said. 

Another discussion will be held on the matter at a town hall meeting on April 24 at the North High School library. It begins at 6:30 p.m.