District seeks volunteers for buildings efficiency report

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published September 28, 2011


In an effort to be proactive with brick and mortar resources, the Troy School District is asking for members of the community to evaluate each building being used in the district to maximize financial efficiency and maintain educational standards.

Although the number of students in the Troy School District has increased by about 300 this year, the population in Oakland County over the next 10 years is projected to decrease.

“And the Troy population is aging,” said Kerry Birmingham, director of media and community relations for the Troy School District. “The board decided it would be prudent to take a look at the efficiency of buildings. We’re not just looking at schools, but office space and other buildings.”

Under direction of consultant Mike Zinn, who has assisted the Utica Community Schools, Royal Oak Neighborhood Schools and Port Huron Area School District with similar studies, the Facilities Study Team will review the information on the buildings in the district, then present its recommendations to the Troy Board of Education in February. A process selection team will choose from among those who apply to serve. Selection team members were nominated by district officials and members of the Troy Chamber of Commerce or responded to an initial call for volunteers the district sent out via email. They will not serve on the study team. Names will be redacted during the selection process. The cost to the district for Zinn’s services is about $15,000.

Troy School District quality consultant Stuart Redpath explained that the team’s recommendations must adhere to these parameters:

• Recognize equity among all schools.

• Maintain International Baccalaureate K-12 programs and current grade configurations.

• Provide no recommendations on staffing, program assignments or class sizes.

Redpath said the district will not influence the teams’ report. He said his role is to provide team members with any information they request during the process.

“The district does not have an end game in mind,” Redpath said.

“There will be no intent by district officials to influence the team,” Birmingham added.

Birmingham said the district wants a diverse cross section of the community to serve on the team, including Realtors, architects, business owners, residents from all areas of Troy, parents of children across the grade spectrum and residents who don’t have children currently attending schools in the district.

Redpath noted that those selected to serve will donate a significant amount of time, about 50 hours, to the task in order to synthesize all the information.

He said that those chosen to serve on the team will be expected to attend all meetings, which will be open to the public. The meetings will be held in the evenings and on Saturdays.

Application packets are available on the Troy School District website, www.troy.k12.mi.us, and must be received before 5 p.m. Oct. 13.