When Mr. Bill Holt’s guest column appeared in the Lake Orion Review last week, I was taken aback. Not because of the topic, because he has been making his dissent towards the LOCS November Bond Proposal abundantly clear in multiple public forums.
As the Superintendent of Lake Orion Community Schools, my concern was his disregard for the education and best interests of our students.
His enrollment projections have apparently been drawn from a national database. Yet, as he is well aware as a LOCS School Board trustee, we use local data from Oakland County, including birth rates and surrounding demographics, to determine the most accurate future enrollment which has been right on target for many years. LOCS enrollment has never mirrored national or state decline.
His evaluation of the LOCS facility capacity may have come from a report commissioned by the district from an independent assessor over three years ago before restructuring and the closure of one elementary school. What he neglects to mention is that the report was submitted in a vacuum and excluded any assessment of how space was used; rather, it simply counted rooms.
Let’s play with his numbers. His proposal – closing another elementary school, a middle school and pushing every student into remaining spaces.
There would be no classrooms for art, music, special education, world language or computer labs. No team teaching in the middle schools, and elimination of the collaboration that provides modern learning environments. Students in classrooms would be jammed to the classroom maximums, with no room for movement and teaching would be restricted by the numbers, both physically and creatively.
The importance of extraordinary schools affects every homeowner in the district. The past two Orion Township community surveys ranked the school district as the No. 1 reason people move to Lake Orion. Following Mr. Holt’s plan, the district will not be able to sustain its current excellence and families will select our neighboring districts (Oxford, Clarkston, Rochester, Troy, Avondale…) that have successfully passed large Bond proposals to ensure that their schools are in excellent condition and provide a learning environment that prepares children for the future. We are the only major Oakland County school district (except Pontiac) without a successful bond election since 2002.
Our administration has repeatedly offered the Board of Education trustees multiple opportunities to spend time in our schools, during and beyond the school day. This has been critical for them to make the most important decisions that affect students. Those Board members who have taken advantage of this have gained a valuable perspective. Their first-hand knowledge of the programs and instruction that occur in every classroom has allowed them to speak informatively on district-related issues and they have pushed the district to extraordinary heights.
Hopefully, Mr. Holt will take the time to visit classrooms in our schools and observe the outstanding programs offered to our students that make us one of the premier districts in the state. In doing so, he would realize the negative impact his plan would have on the education of all LOCS students. Equally important, it would afford him the opportunity to educate himself to see that Lake Orion Community Schools is not an abstract theory based on numbers.
Superintendent Marion Ginopolis
Marion Ginopolis has been in the education profession for over 50 years in multiple Oakland County school districts. She has been the superintendent of Lake Orion Community Schools for the past 8 years and previously the superintendent of Oxford Community Schools for 7 years. #AlwaysLakeOrion