Tuesday, September 6, 2011

School chiefs speak on the state of schools

What to expect in the coming school year was just one of the topics covered by school Superintendents David Larson of Birmingham and Robert Glass of Bloomfield Hills Wednesday at the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber's Breakfast, Books and Buildings event at the Birmingham Conference Center.

The event helped the schools connect with community leaders and present the latest developments from the Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills school districts.

“We are all energized and enthusiastic as the new school year begins,” said Larson.

Larson and Glass both stressed the goals of providing world-class education for their students.

Glass referred to the Strategic Plan for the district which has these objectives: Provide every student with a world-class educational experience; sustain trust through community partnership; sustain financial success; and provide and maintain facilities.

“We need to bring our community along on the high school decision process and reach a decision soon,” he said.

“We have a fine, competent school board. They are altruistic people of great integrity. They are caring, intelligent and have the best interest of the community at heart,” said Glass.

In his presentation, Larson referred to the Birmingham strategic plan and cited the fiscal stewardship which has been shown through privatization, restructuring, downsizing, energy management and cost containment.

Glass also mentioned the necessity for wise financial planning and actions which have enabled the Bloomfield Hills district to maintain a AAA rating.

“I am proud to be a part of both school districts,” said Carol Mastroianni, executive director of the Birmingham Bloomfield Community Coalition. “Both provide fine education. Both are proactive and operate with transparency, and both seek community input.”

The 80 persons attended the event including chamber members, community officials, school board members and residents. Joe Bauman, president of the chamber, said, “We are grateful to the superintendents for giving their time. There is a great interest in the schools.”

The event was moderated by Greg Kowalski, editor of the Birmingham Eccentric.

The Birmingham Bloomfield Credit Union and Axis Music Academy helped sponsor the event. Linda Hatfield, vice president of marketing for the credit union, said, “We proudly support the school systems. It is important that the community is aware of the challenges schools are facing and how they are overcoming them. They are still prominent, fine school systems.”

Ingrid Day, president of the Bloomfield Hills school board, said, “This was an opportunity to bring groups together. It is the best way to demonstrate that we are all working together for the good of the students.”

Diane K. Bert is a free-lance writer and former educator. She lives in Bloomfield Township.

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