To all Residents of Bloomfield Hills as your School Board President:

It’s important to me that the Bloomfield Hills Schools community feels knowledgeable about what’s happening in our district. We’ve done a few things this school year with the hope of accomplishing this: we started posting reminders about Board of Education meetings on Facebook, I’ve personally drafted a few updates that were shared on the website and in emails, we’ve included a student voice on our Board with the recently announced Board of Education Student Interns. If you read one article today, I hope it’s this one. I have an important message that I hope is heard around Bloomfield Hills today.

On October 29, the Board of Education held a Special Meeting with an agenda item to update the full board about the work that the Scope and Design Committee has discussed so far. I think there was some confusion about where we are in the process, and I hope this message brings clarity. No decisions were made and no actions were taken at the Special Meeting. The Scope and Design Committee is scheduled to present their findings to us when they have completed their work.

Perhaps it is helpful to take a few steps back to the origins of this work that started with a district-wide facilities and technology assessment identifying $33 million in critical needs over the next 3 years. Knowing this information, the Board considered two options:

• Option 1: fund the projects and put band-aids on our aging facilities, while keeping the current configuration of our district (elementary students in middle school buildings, middle schools with enrollment too small to effectively operate special programs, etc).

• Option 2: explore new and better facilities to meet our needs. This option will likely result in the Board asking our community for a substantial bond initiative.

So a few months ago, recognizing the importance of community engagement, Focus Panels were formed along with a Scope and Design Committee. Together, the two groups have been tasked with co-constructing Bloomfield Hills Schools’ possible future. Because it is likely that structural upgrades and changes will be needed in the near future, we want to explore all the options. In this process, many diagrams have been drawn, cost comparisons are being developed, and various images and scenarios are being discussed. We are committed to a thorough analysis. This Board was elected to serve the people of Bloomfield Hills Schools; we will not forget this during the process.

We welcome the public to all our meetings and encourage the sharing of ideas and concerns during public comment. However, a board meeting is not interactive. It does not allow for us to engage in a dialogue during citizens comments. As the Board President, I will make every effort to reach as many community members as possible, and I will encourage my colleagues to do the same. If, in the future, structural upgrades are needed and a bond is proposed, your support will be integral to a successful passage. We will need each and every one of you to be informed.

Thank you again for your tremendous support of our school district. It is because of active and involved people like all of you that BHS remains a truly unique educational environment for our students and a place we can all call “home.” If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to me at Pkolin@bloomfield.org