Thursday, November 3, 2005

Grand Rapids Public Schools Paralysis

It's funny to watch the Grand Rapids school board completely bungle everything they do. One has a hard time understanding exactly how they can bat 1000 when it comes to messing up the simplest task.

The GRPS board is considering selling the now-unused Huff elementary school on the city's north side. They got two bids - first from a charter school company offering $1.3 million. The second bid is from a non-profit organization run by Dave Allen, one of the board members (and a former president of the board), offering about $800k.

The board had an "emergency" meeting last night to consider the charter school company's bid. The board realized that it doesn't look so good to sell a school to a board member (can anyone say conflict of interest?). Allen's organization proposed selling off a portion of the land as "brownfield" sites so that the school district could capture additional tax dollars. One hitch - no one ran the idea by the city first.

To top it off, Allen's organization wouldn't even be able to raise the money for months. There was such an outcry at the unusual Wednesday evening meeting, that the board decided to table to decision.

They can't even handle the sale of an unused building - how can we expect them to handle the education of 20,000+ kids?

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