Parents React to GRPS Falling Enrollment

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GRPS Approves Modified Transformation Plan

FOX 17 File Photo

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.- Bad news for Grand Rapids Public Schools as the district is set to lose 700 students by fall.  That loss is expected to cost the district nearly $5 million.  It’s part of a trend that started a decade ago and one that’s cost GRPS about $8,000 throughout the past 10 years.   

The declining enrollment led to closure of several buildings along with consolidation and teachers cut.

FOX 17 spoke with parents at Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Academy.  India Horton tells us, “All my friends kids go to charter schools.”  That seems to be the trend for parents with children in Grand Rapids Public Schools. 

Nicole Wells says she’s looking into other options, “Just to go to a better school.  Me and her dad sat back and talk about it, private schools, Christian schools… the learning, academics and to see if they have smaller classes.”

The district says charter schools could be where the projected 700 students leaving GRPS are going.

Courtney Moose says, “The schools are closing, you know, it’s so important, our kids education and it’s so sad that it’s just being taken away.  We’re losing teachers, that’s a huge part of their future and our future.”

GRPS says 60 to 70 employees will be cut including some teachers.  Moose says she’s worried it’s a vicious cycle, “If more people go there then there’s less money here.”  She fears this will hurt her kids education saying, “I am trying to find different options and a charter school is one.  More one on one and just the curriculum.  That is one of the benefits of a charter school, is that he wouldn’t be behind; he would still continue to be able to be challenged.”

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4 comments

  • Roger

    I had a feeling the charter/ montessori system would come back to bite GRPS in the rear end. Specialized schools before high school I see as being really not needed. Now maybe if they were an extension of the normal school system, that would be a different story.

  • pips

    I think the high dropout rate (8%), low graduation rate(75%) and poor education is what bit them.

    For comparison, Forest Hills graduation rate is in the mid to high 90s.

  • fbisy

    GRPS doesn't provide transportation for High School students. Breakfast starts before 7am, when its still dark outside. Students have been forced to take the city bus in the very early hours of the morning, when its just as dark at 6am as it is at midnight. They have to walk to the nearest bus stop, which is sometimes quite a ways, and stand at a dark, lonely, creepy bus stop and ride the bus with with the general public, which includes some creepy characters.

    • fbisy

      Also, many families are struggling to pay for their children to use the city bus. A 31 day pass is $40, and if you have 3 children, the costs start to add ul quite quickly.
      High School students should be riding to and from school ON A SCHOOL BUS, like the rest of the students. Safety somehow became unimportant, along with some other important issues.