By Megan Kelley
For some time now, Lake Orion Community Schools has had a portion of its students make the switch to attend International Academy (IA) instead of Lake Orion High School.
International Academy is a school of choice option for students across Oakland County.
In recent months, some controversy has arisen between the academy and Bloomfield Hills over who should govern the IA committee — elected or appointed officials.
That disagreement has now brought the other participating districts, including Lake Orion, into the discussion.
“Bloomfield Hills is the group of people who have somehow appointed themselves as the keeper of the decision-making,” Superintendent Marion Ginopolis said. “They are the original fiscal agent of the original school…so I think that they feel board members should be running that school. That’s the whole issue, quite frankly.”
Prior to the Oct. 9 board meeting, Ginopolis attended an International Academy Joint Steering Committee (JSC) meeting. Ginopolis was joined by officials from the 12 other schools involved in the committee.
“Their (Bloomfield Hills) view — they’re entitled to it — is that board members that are elected by the public should be the ones on this Joint Steering Committee. I quite frankly have the view that Marion does. I think professional educators should be the steering committee of that as opposed to board members,” said Trustee Jake Singer. “It’s not an elected body. So, what’s happening is elected people, we’re appointing who we want to run that for us.”
By a vote of 11-2 (Bloomfield Hills and Avondale both voted no), the committee approved a joint resolution that would create a new governance structure for International Academy. This vote will change who is governing over IA.
“The resolution that was approved by the JSC was that it would be the three superintendents of the three campuses and they are also the fiscal agents; one is Bloomfield Hills one is Huron Valley and the other is Troy,” said Ginopolis. “Those three superintendents will serve, as well as two kind of ‘at large’ (districts) that will be selected and then voted on by a school board. We have not gotten to that step. (The) first step is to pass a resolution to support the recommendation that the governance structure is conducted by the superintendents.”
During their next board meeting on Oct. 23, the board voted in favor of approving the Joint Steering Committee resolution.