REDFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WXYZ) — Lawrence Gary gave his two sons, who are in kindergarten and second grade, lessons at home. He kept them out of their virtual classroom in the South Redford School District on Count Day.
October 6th is one of two days on which attendance is used to calculate school funding. If children miss school today and attend in the coming days, schools can still get funding, but they have to take extra steps. Gary wanted to send a message to the district that his students are valuable.
“These two are the most important thing in my life and I want to make sure that everything in their life is great. Especially their education,” he said.
He is doing it to protest a change. He got a call saying the virtual school program would be outsourced.
“And we are going to be part of a global online learning system,” said Gary.
He says he doesn’t know what that means for his children, who are just weeks into their school year, are fond of their teachers, and enjoy their classmates. Will they still have the local South Redford School District Community?
“I feel like they are being cast aside. You either come back face to face or this is what you get,” said Gary.
We went to the administration to find out more about what this change will mean. Superintendent Brian Galdes told 7 Action News approximately 25 students in different grade levels are in the virtual program, and the district is trying to offer them more, not less, through a partnership. He says the district will still be a big part of these children’s education.
He says he can’t describe what the program will mean for students because it is all still being worked out
“We are currently listening to stakeholders and in process of developing the best programs that we can implement for students learning virtually,” said Galdes.
Gary wants to make sure parents are an integral part in the planning process.
“You just can’t tell us what you are going to do with our children and not give us a heads up, not sit down and explain it to us,” he said.
The next school board meeting is on October 11 and parents impacted say they plan to make their voices heard by decision-makers.