West Bloomfield School Closure

Kylie Harmala, Writer

On December 1st and 3rd of last week, the West Bloomfield Board of Education held a virtual meeting for parents, stakeholders, and the community to discuss plans for closing an elementary school in the district due to a decline in students.

As of this moment, there are two proposed plans for closing a school. The two options were put forth by Western Demographics, a school planning consultant hired by the West Bloomfield School District. Following the school planning consultant’s report on the schools, the owner of Western Demographics gave a presentation about his company’s review and answered questions from many members of the community.

One of the options is to close Roosevelt Elementary (Cass Lake Rd, Keego Harbor) and move the administration offices and preschool classes to Abbott Middle School. This would make arriving to school and extracurricular activities more difficult for many school of choice and Keego Harbor students.

The other option is to close Scotch Elementary (Commerce Rd, West Bloomfield Township). This option also includes moving administration offices and preschool into Abbott. According to Western Demographics, Roosevelt Elementary was the most “outdated-school” because of classroom sizes and it has multiple floors with young kids in the school which could be an accessibility issue.

In response to the news, a group of Keego Harbor residents gathered outside of Roosevelt protesting the apparent chance the school at the center of their community could be shut down. David Emerling, a former West Bloomfield parent and Keego Harbor resident wrote an email to the school board regarding his concern.

“As you know, we love Keego Harbor and Roosevelt is a cornerstone of our community, when the consultant was asked the question, did a school closing ever distress a city his answer was no but it does stress a neighborhood.”

At a “special board meeting” on December 7th, school board members said that they wanted to make sure they “exhausted every last possibility” before coming to a consensus. Some of the alternatives mentioned by either parents or board members included closing down Abbott and moving the administration into a vacancy in either Roosevelt or Scotch. Alternatively, there were suggestions for allowing more school of choice/out of district students into West Bloomfield to make up for the deficit and decline of students in the district.

The next school board meeting will be held on December 14th where they will continue to discuss information on the school closure. Voting on which school to close can occur as early as this week. Or, if they feel there is more information to discuss the vote can be delayed. The link for the virtual meeting next week is: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89517024836