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Grand Rapids considers letting elementary students out early for summer

A large gray building on a snowy day. The side of the building says East Rapids Elementary in capital white letters.
Megan Buffington
East Rapids Elementary in Grand Rapids on Feb. 9, 2024.

Superintendent Matt Grose said it would save the district money to move teachers and classrooms between East and West Rapids elementaries at the end of the school year instead of this summer.

GRAND RAPIDS — Students at East and West Rapids elementaries in Grand Rapids might start their summer vacations a week earlier to allow staff members time to pack up and move.

Starting in the fall, West Rapids Elementary school will serve students in grades kindergarten through second, and East Rapids Elementary will be third through fifth grades. This means teachers will need to move between and within buildings.

The grade-level elementaries change was approved by the ISD 318 School Board in March as part of a plan to reduce the district’s budget. At the Wednesday, March 27, School Board meeting, Superintendent Matt Grose said it would save the district money to move at the end of the school year instead of this summer.

"When you look at it, it looks like a few grades moving from place to place, but at the end of the day, we have a number of teachers — most teachers are moving," Grose said. "Whether it's to another building or to a different part of the building they're in."

Board members Pat Medure and Malissa Bahr encouraged Grose to include local employers in discussions leading up to the transition. And Bahr noted ending the school year a week earlier could be disruptive for parents without time to plan for child care.

"The more you can get employers on board, the more likely it is that they could also plan for some of this flexibility," Bahr said.

Moving up the last day of school would require board approval to amend the school calendar and Grose says he’ll bring that item to the next scheduled meeting.

People may submit questions at ISD 318’s website, where a new webpage focuses on the transition. There you will also find an FAQ, the superintendent’s letter to parents and a video explaining how the change helps maintain consistent class sizes.

Grose will go live on Facebook at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 3, to talk about the upcoming change.

Chelsey Perkins spent the first 15 years of her journalism career as a print journalist, primarily as a newspaper reporter and editor. In February 2023, she accepted a role as News Director of KAXE in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, where she's building a new local newsroom at the station.