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Parents, staff and students speak out at GRPS board meeting

A teacher speaks at Monday night's Grand Rapids Public School board meeting.
A teacher speaks at Monday night's Grand Rapids Public School board meeting.

Hundreds of parents, students and staff attended the most recent Grand Rapids Public School board meeting, many asking the board to address issues

Monday night’s GRPS board meeting brought out large numbers of concerned residents due to a recent community survey put out by the Urban Core Collective Education Justice Team. That survey led to a community report card, where over 300 stakeholders graded the GRPS on issues such as teacher pay, transportation, and meal and air quality. Overwhelmingly, the report card shows that the most important issue facing GRPS is staffing shortages driven by low-wages and a lack of access to benefits.

Many teachers spoke out on the issue.

“The district took one and a half months to respond to our proposal with an offer of $375. I cannot begin to explain to you what a slap in the face that is.”

“If the $375 offer is the best the district can do, surrounding districts are going to be jumping for joy, because we will have a mass exodus here.”

“My email mailbox is absolutely filled with other school districts that want me to go work for them.”

Parents also spoke out on the teacher shortage.

“You are holding our children’s lives in your hands and, quite frankly, you’re screwing it up.”

Superintendent Dr. Leadriane Roby spoke after the comments, saying that while they were difficult to hear and she appreciated what she heard, change takes time.

“The issues and the things that have been brought forward are not new issues and it does take time to make sure, again, that we are making some progress.”

Dave joined WGVU Public Media in November of 2023 after eighteen years as a Michigan Association of Broadcasters Emmy-nominated photojournalist and editor at Grand Rapids' WOOD TV8 and three years at WEYI TV25 in Flint, Michigan. As a General Assignment Reporter, Dave covers daily news and community events all over West Michigan.
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