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GRPS credited Grand Rapids arealawmakers, particularly Senator DaveHildenbrand and Rep. Roy Schmidt,for some important state budget winsthat helped the district to avoid morethan $5.3 million in budget cuts.The district targeted four issues in par-ticular: 1) the unintended consequenceof the proposed all day Kindergartenfunding formula; 2) the proposed elim-ination of Small Class Size categoricalfunding; 3) the proposed elimination of special education itinerant reimburse-ment; and 4) more flexibility to use31A dollars at the secondary level toreduce class sizes. The all day Kinder-garten formula would have cost GRPS$3.3 million, Small Class Size elimina-tion $2 million, and special educationitinerant as much as $1 million.Based on the conference committeereport approved this summer, GrandRapids area lawmakers batted 1000 for Grand Rapids Public Schools.“Greater Grand Rapids is fortunate tohave a delegation of state lawmakerswho recognized the adverse impactthe proposed budget had on GRPSstudents and went to bat for us,” saidJon O’Connor, Chair, Board Leg-islative Committee. “Senator DaveHildenbrand and Representative RoySchmidt were instrumental in securingthe support of their legislative lead-ership and votes of their respective col-leagues, with Schmidt really earningthe all day Kindergarten solution. Rep.Lisa Lyons Posthumus also playeda critical role in explaining why thelosses would financially devastate thedistrict.”While GRPS may have dodged a $5.3million budget hit, the district is stillreeling from the $470 per pupil fund-ing cut approved last year plus theelimination of a number of categori-cal grants that were targeted for high poverty, high needs students.“We are grateful for the heavy liftingour Grand Rapids area lawmakers didand appreciate that the Snyder Admin-istration, their legislative leaders andcolleagues listened, understood, andtook action. Representatives BrandonDillon, for working to help us provideflexibility in the use of 31A funds, andKen Yonker and Pete MacGregor for their work on the Kindergarten issuealso deserve special recognition for their efforts in helping GRPS. Welook forward to our continued work with them. We were very aggressivein our advocacy efforts and that won’tstop when the budget is approved.We will be relentless in our efforts toraise awareness about urban publiceducation issues, the complicated andunfunded federal mandates, and howGRPS has aggressively tackled our financial and academic challenges,”said O’Connor.
GRPS Applauds Grand Rapids Lawmakersfor State Budget Wins
Harrison Park Named“Outstanding Community Ally”
Harrison Park recently received theOutstanding Community Ally awardfrom Grand Valley State University.Harrison Park has helped Grand ValleyState University to create many serviceevents and opportunities for GrandValley students to participate in ongoingservice as Schools of Hope volunteer readers, tutors, student mentors, andteaching assistants.
Superintendent and PrincipalHonored by East Hills
Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Nealand Congress Elementary PrincipalBridget Cheney received the Women of East Hills Award. They were honored because of their strong leadership andthe ways they have helped East HillsCouncil of Neighbors make a differencein the community.
MLK CrownedCo-Ed SoccerChamps
The Martin Luther King Jr. Soar-ing Eagles werecrowned the co-ed soccer champions of thespring after defeating the UPrep/Montes-sori team in the finals. Final score: 1-0.
GRPS Visited by U.S. Dept. of Ed.for Town Hall
The U.S. Department of Education, theCorporation for National and Com-munity Service, and the White HouseOffice of Faith-Based and Neighbor-hood Partnerships held “Together for Tomorrow: A Town Hall on CommunityEngagement in Education” at OttawaHills High School on May 17th. TheTown Hall highlighted Together for To-morrow, a national initiative to spotlightand foster partnerships among schools,families, national service programs, andcommunity-based organizations in order to propel improvement of lowest-per-forming schools.
Ottawa Hills Student Named“Best andBrightest”
Ottawa Hills HighSchool senior Herbert Slatewas selected asa runner-up inthe Detroit NewsBest and Bright-est Outstanding Graduates 2012 in the“Against all Odds” category. Herbertwas initially in “Physical or OtherwiseHealth Impaired” (POHI) classes. Whenhe began high school, he enrolled ingeneral education classes and excelled toearn the distinction of top male graduateof the Ottawa Hills High School classof 2012.
The Michigan Department of Transporta-tion granted $108,850 in funding for theSafe Routes to School (SRTS) programfor Palmer Elementary School. Palmer and the City of Grand Rapids will installLED countdown signals, speed bumps,a pedestrian island, improve crosswalks,and educate students and families.
Student Coordinated Locks ofLove Donations
North Park student Ce-leste Loser’shard work in recruitingdonations paid off whenshe and eightothers donated their hair for Locks of Love. Celeste was joined by her mom,younger sister, teacher, and classmates.There was much oohing and aahing aseach person left the hairstylists chair sporting a fabulous new haircut.
the Center’s director of education policy and a coauthor of the reportcard. “This is the first-of-its-kind at-tempt in Michigan to take this realityinto account, and it helps us identifyoutstanding schools that by most mea-sures would appear mediocre.”The study compared four years of Michigan Merit Exam and ACTscores, while taking into account the percentage of students who quali-fied for free and reduced lunch. Eachschool was assigned a Context andPerformance (CAP) score, with 100 being average.The results for Grand Rapids wereoverwhelmingly positive. City Highhad the highest score in the state for schools that use a selective admissions policy. According to the report, “…three other Grand Rapids high schools — Creston, Central and Ottawa Hills — were among the county’s 10 best andoutscored nearby East Grand RapidsHigh School and all three Forest Hillshigh schools.”
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