Southfield to merge high schools, shut 2 other sites
Faced with falling enrollment and rising expenses, Southfield Public Schools plans to merge two high schools, close two other schools and make other changes.
The Southfield Board of Education approved the consolidations, which will take effect in 2016-17, in a 4-3 vote Tuesday night.
According to a news release, the district will operate in the black in 2015-16, but would deplete its fund balance the following school year “without a major reconfiguration.”
According to state figures, the Southfield schools’ fund balance declined from $26.8 million in 2012-13 to $21 million in 2013-14, while its enrollment fell from 8,699 in 2009-10 to 6,968 this school year.
“We want all students to succeed and for families to have numerous quality choices, as we manage the operations and resources of the district with sound decision making for the future of SPS,” Superintendent Lynda Wood said in the statement.
Under the Imagine 20/20 plan, Southfield-Lathrup and Southfield high schools will merge into one school at the Southfield High School campus, with a new name to be determined.
A K-12 university campus would be created at the Southfield-Lathrup site and the Bussey Center for Early Childhood Education for students from University High School Academy, University Preparatory Academy and MacArthur K-8 University Academy.
The district also plans to close Brace-Lederle K-8 School and Adler Elementary School, which serves students in kindergarten through fifth grade. The Brace-Lederle building would be sold, as would the former Schoenhals Elementary School.
Students in grades 6-8 at Brace-Lederle would be moved to Levey Middle School, while Adler students would move to an elementary school chosen by their parents, depending on availability by grade.
Also under the plan, the district would:
■Freeze hiring, salaries, nonessential purchases and non-grant travel, unless approved by the superintendent, in 2015-16.
■Place a preschool class in each K-5 school.
■Launch an early college program with Oakland Community College.