School funding fuels hybrid learning debate at West Bloomfield School District

Funding offered to schools that have 20 hours of in-person learning

School funding fuels hybrid learning debate at West Bloomfield schools
School funding fuels hybrid learning debate at West Bloomfield schools

WEST BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Two pieces of legislation passed last week offering additional funding for Michigan schools that provide at least 20 hours of in-person learning.

The legislation has not yet been signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, but one school district is now trying to decide if it’s worth to re-route its current learning plan.

The West Bloomfield School District is in hybrid learning and was planning to keep it until next year.

READ: What to know as Detroit public schools resume in-person learning

But the potential loss of $1.2 million in additional funding forced the district’s Board of Education to discuss on Monday whether to increase in-person learning to 20 hours a week.

It is a position that Superintendent Gerald Hill did not appreciate.

“I think it’s unconscionable that the Legislature is using that money as a wedge and not giving it like it’s intended to. But that’s not where we live. We’re living with the reality of the Legislature being the Legislature,” Hill said.

After discussing issues of reducing class sizes at the elementary level, busing changes and certain schedule shuffling for middle and high school students, Board President Stacy Brickman asked, “Is it worth doing all of this conversation and making all of these changes for $1.2 million?”

READ: With billions at stake, Gov. Whitmer and Michigan Republicans refuse to budge

Hill said, “It gives us resources to respond to some of the concerns that board members have expressed, concerns related to mental health, concerns related to addressing students’ learning issues that have developed over the course of the pandemic.”

Board member Carol Finkelstein said she wants to have students back in the schools.

Some parents have responded to the issue.

“It’s not about the money, it’s about the best education for our kids,” said Mike Gordon.

“We can’t be bought... You’re talking about less than 2% of the budget,” said Mark Stone.

Watch the full report in the video above.


About the Author:

Jason anchors Local 4's 5:30 p.m. newscast. He joined WDIV in January 2015 as a general assignment reporter and has a Journalism degree from Michigan State University.