In a 4-3 vote, the Grosse Pointe Public School System Board of Education rejected a plan to build a school-based clinic at Grosse Pointe North High School.
The previous board approved the clinic last year. Only $1 million was available from the pool of funds that would cost the district construction costs. Sinking fundOperating expenses covered by state and other subsidies.
But a new board majority says the project is an unnecessary and possibly illegal use of sinking fund dollars — even though the school district’s legal counsel insists it’s perfectly legal. The new majority wanted to put the plan on hold and pursue other options.
Grosse Pointe resident Tom Peck agreed. No one doubts the need for more health services in schools, he said, “but we have to look at the big picture, is this the best way to pay for this construction and what’s the harm in waiting to make sure we do it? A fully informed decision?” he asked.
But this delay will effectively kill the project, because the district will not be able to meet the terms of the grant by standing with the construction.
Board member David Brumbaugh voted against the decision to end the project. The school committee at Grosse Pointe North High School has come up with an innovative way to get much-needed services to its schools, he said.
“Knowing how difficult it was to work with this school district, who is going to give us the same help in the future?” Brumbaugh said. “If we vote no here tonight, what incentive are we giving people in this district and this community to do this kind of unpaid work here again?”
Renewing the contract with Corewell Health, the district’s project partner, and other contractors will now cost the Grosse Pointe district at least $150,000 from its general fund.
Grosse Pointe is one of several school districts and other local governments where neoconservatives are moving quickly on their agendas, sometimes with drastic changes in policy.