Trombly to have early childhood program, Head Start this fall

By: Maria Allard | Grosse Pointe Times | Published July 21, 2020

 An early childhood center and the Wayne County Head Start program are coming to the former Trombly Elementary School.

An early childhood center and the Wayne County Head Start program are coming to the former Trombly Elementary School.

Photo by Deb Jacques

GROSSE POINTES — At the June 29 Grosse Pointe Public School System Board of Education meeting, the school board voted 7-0 to open an early childhood center at the former Trombly Elementary School in Grosse Pointe Park.

At this point, school officials will run the early childhood center at Trombly until June 30, 2021.

Trombly and Poupard Elementary School, in Harper Woods, both closed at the end of the 2019-2020 school year as part of the district’s reconfiguration plan. The proposal for the early childhood center program at Trombly surfaced last year in an effort to expand the district’s pre-K tuition program and provide child care on the south end of the district.

The proposal initially consisted of a three-year plan at Trombly. The proposal also included a $1 million donation from an anonymous donor to be utilized to support the expansion of the early childhood center at Trombly. As per school officials, the second year would be when the donation would be needed for the construction costs, potential marketing and key personnel running the early childhood center. However, the $1 million offer has been rescinded presently because of the uncertainty due to COVID-19.

Because the $1 million monetary offer was canceled, district administrators recommended that the district move forward with a one-year pilot program for an early childhood center at Trombly that is funded exclusively by tuition.

School officials will continue the expansion of the early childhood center at Trombly if there is a donor agreement in place no later than Sept. 1, 2020, to fund the expansion. If there is no donor agreement in place to fund the expansion by that date, the district will provide notice to the community that the early childhood center will end on June 30, 2021.

The administration will deliver a plan no later than Oct. 30, 2020, that repurposes Trombly with funding to maintain the building without using money from the general fund or 2019 bond, or otherwise eliminates the maintenance costs by sale or lease.

The board also voted 6-0 on a memorandum of understanding between the district and Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency, based in Wyandotte, to have a Head Start classroom and office space at Trombly. Board member Christopher Lee had left the meeting before the vote.

Head Start is a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-funded initiative that provides preschool, socialization and family support services to low-income families and children with special needs at no charge.

The memorandum of understanding is effective through June 30, 2021. Head Start is not run by the district; it’s operated through Wayne County.

Per the memorandum, Wayne Metro will agree to provide all education materials and equipment for classroom use, with the exception of those items that might be donated by the school, such as miscellaneous books, shelves or tables.

Under the memorandum, the district will agree to provide Wayne Metro, at no charge, Trombly’s room No. 113 for the Head Start program.

Both sides agree Head Start will use the school gymnasium for one hour two days per week at a minimum and use the kindergarten playground daily for gross motor activities on a schedule mutually agreeable to both parties.

Both sides also agree to have a room for parent and staff meetings on an as-needed basis. Use of the room will be limited so as not to conflict with regular school operations.

Because of COVID-19, the school district is holding virtual board meetings consistent with the Open Meetings Act.