Michigan Department of Civil Rights Recommends Grosse Pointe School Board Restart Decision-Making Process on Reconfiguration of the School District

Contact: Vicki Levengood 517-241-7978

Lansing—Citing findings from four public listening sessions and written comments received from parents and community members, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) has recommended that the Grosse Pointe Public Schools District (GPPSS) and Grosse Pointe School Board restart their decision-making process on reconfiguring the school district.

“It is clear that the community perceives that the process for deciding the fate of their neighborhood schools lacked transparency and the effective involvement of the people most impacted by the reconfiguration,” said Agustin V. Arbulu, Director of MDCR. “The process also failed to adequately take into consideration issues of racial equity and disparate impacts on children and communities of color. For these and other reasons we outline in our report, we strongly recommend that the School Board restart their deliberation with an eye to creating a more inclusive and transparent process.”

In the report, the Department offers seven key recommendations for improving the process and insuring the Board is taking into consideration the concerns of all stakeholders. The recommendations include:

  • Extending or restarting the deliberation period with an eye to creating a more inclusive and transparent process.
  • Tightening the in-district transfer policy that has disadvantaged the school with the most students of color.
  • Developing a marketing plan aimed at increasing enrollment.
  • Providing additional resources to the district’s only Title 1 school.
  • Closing a middle school in lieu of closing one or more elementary schools and retaining the current grade configuration.
  • Implementing training for the school board and staff on racial equity, implicit bias and structural racism, and holding community forums on equity and inclusion.
  • Adopting a racial equity lens to guide the decision-making process on reconfiguration.

Director Arbulu has requested to present the report at the Grosse Pointe School Board’s June 24th meeting.

“The Department commends the School Board for seeking our help to ensure they were hearing from all segments of the community,” said Arbulu. “I believe these recommendations will allow the school district to regain a measure of public trust in their decision making and result in a more equitable outcome for all the families of the Grosse Pointe School District. The Department is committed to assisting the school district as needed with implementing a number of these recommendations.”

For the full MDCR report, go to https://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdcr/Final_UPDATED_MDCR_Report_for_GP_School_Board_6-17-19_658196_7.pdf

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights is charged with investigating and resolving discrimination complaints and works to prevent discrimination through educational programs that promote voluntary compliance with civil rights laws. The Department also provides information and services to businesses on diversity initiatives and equal employment law.  For more information on the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, go to www.michigan.gov/mdcr.

 

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