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GRPS holds first public meeting on closings | Education

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GRPS holds first public meeting on closings

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Parents and members of the community will have their first chance to share their thoughts on the Grand Rapids Public Schools plan to reinvent the district, including closing buildings.

District leaders are holding a forum at 6 p.m. Thursday at Creston High School, where they will lay out their transformation plan, which includes closing ten schools -- including Creston.

The district hopes to save up to $5 million with the closing plan, which leaders say will also improve students' test scores and their ability to give children a better education.

Spokesman John Helmholdt says the district wants to hear what people have to say about the plan, but those with objections are being asked to provide concrete alternatives for improving schools.

"I respect that people are close to these schools, and I'm happy that they love their schools," says Helmholdt.  "If there are other alternatives, I would like for people to help me figure this out.

"There's a group that's already advocating the maybe City High and Middle move into the Creston building, so that way this beautiful Creston neighborhood isn't left with a vacant building. You know, that's creative thought."

Other parts of the plan, including the proposal for school uniforms, will also be discussed at the meeting.

We are also including a list of future meetings.  The school board will hold a final vote on the plan on December 17.