• From: Chace Wakefield

    Sent: Monday, May 09, 2016 5:37:28 PM (UTC-05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)

    To: Ismail, Ahmed (GPPSS)

    Cc: Niehaus, Gary; School Board

    Subject: Re: Chace Wakefield - Your Email Urging Us to Let Non Resident Staffer Students in GPPSS Tuition Free


    Thank you for your response.   I reviewed the attached documents you sent as well.  Like you I really do value having many differing opinions, and data before me.  I am glad no one is looking at this with tunnel vision.  While it is a divisive issue, I don't think it is one that is as big of a deal as others are making it out to be.  True it may cost a bit locally as far as non-residents would not be contributing to the hold harmless fee etc, but to me it is more than just that.  Its about keeping the exceptional (and I am not sure that's even a strong enough word) teachers we have and continuing to recruit the best of the best.  I see it as a well deserved perk of employment that puts GP in a good position to continue to land the best people possible for all jobs district wide.

    As far as your questions for me go,

    1.  You and your colleagues on the school board are probably much more versed on how many intra-district transfers actually occur each year, but ideally those are kept to a minimum (unless there is some danger to a student etc).  I hope those are not occurring because some parent wants their child at North as opposed to South because "that is where his buddies all go." If you ask me you look at safety issues in district first, if a student is at some sort of risk or in need of a special ed program at a different school, those have to be addressed first.  After that it goes to availability, and that would include district employees.  I am not a fan of people transferring just to transfer for social, or political reasons even if there is space. As I am sure you and the board all know, social media can make a seemingly odd rumor into a Fox 2 lead story.

    2. As for if there is room for one child but not the other, the way I read the new policy is that the district determines if there is room and where there is room.  The child or parent does not have a say where that child will be placed.  If there is room for one at one school, and nowhere both children could go to school together, Its going to be up to that parent if placing them in GP Schools is worth it.  They could put them at two different schools but I don't see that happening.  I also don't see how this policy would allow for preferential treatment for siblings.  Its just one of those things  where this is a perk, and not everyone will like the perk for what it is.  It wont be perfect, but it is an option.

    3.  As for this last question, I believe #6 in your proposed policy covers this.  The district determines what the next school will be based on availability. If there is space at South the employees child in your example would go to South.  The other North resident in your example isn't really a factor in this if board policy already prevents students from transferring from North to South.  Residents know how this all works, and even though they sometimes pretend they don't (those on Chalfonte claiming their kid cant go to North because his buddy is going to South etc), its a good system.  From an outsider looking in, this district seemingly has done a very good job of being firm and fair on this issue.  I know you asked below if I really thought that you would send the graduating Pierce student to North, and the answer is yes.  Without question.  If you want to have control over where you are going, you do it by living where you want to go. Meaning you live in the district that feeds the schools you want to attend.  Plain and simple.  This is a perk, but its not as good of a perk as living in district.   So you get what you get.


    I know you stated in your email that I was the first Realtor you had heard from that was in favor of this, and I might argue it is because I probably have put much more thought into it than other Realtors.  As I stated before, when you buy in Grosse Pointe you get the whole package.  I think you are giving the employees a taste of that whole package with this, and it will actually force a few to move here.  The kids will want to play Little League with their school buddies, but there will still be a few employees that simply cannot afford it, and at least they can check one thing off their parenting to do list, and that is that they are getting their children the best education possible.  They deserve that perk and we can make it work.



    Chace Wakefield- Associate Broker, GRI, AHWD, SFR.

    Top 5% of Realtors in Metro Detroit 2013 and 2015 Grosse Pointe Board of Realtors Bolton Johnston Associates



    From: "Ismail, Ahmed (GPPSS)" <ismaila@gpschools.com>

    To: "Wakefield, Chace" <chacewakefield@yahoo.com>

    Cc: Gary C. Niehaus (GPPSS) <gary.niehaus@gpschools.org>; School Board (GPPSS) <schoolboard@gpschools.org>

    Sent: Sunday, May 8, 2016 9:54 AM

    Subject: Chace Wakefield - Your Email Urging Us to Let Non Resident Staffer Students in GPPSS Tuition Free


    Hello, Mr. Wakefield,


    Please accept my apology for the delay in responding to your May 4 email (copy below).  This past week has been a bit chaotic family-wise with out of town visitors in for my son's graduation from MSU.


    First, thank you for sharing your opinion with us.  I have to say you are the first realtor I have heard from who is in favor of this policy change.  Differing opinions are fine with me--they make us all think.


    My personal opinion is that this is a very complex issue.  The planning of the logistics cannot be rushed through under the premise that "don't worry about it--the administration will take care of it".  More than any other policy I have seen while on the board, for this policy, the devil is truly in the details.  For your reference, a copy of the revised policy I received on Friday is attached.


    The whole financial premise that this proposal is hanging on is that there will be no additional cost to the system for enrolling these non-resident students because they will only be allowed to enroll in classes at buildings where there is room to place then WITHOUT adding any staff.  In an ideal mathematical world, this would be great.  My hesitancy with this is that real life has taught me that students don't come in nice, neat little bundles, and my fear is that the unintended consequences of implementing this policy will lead us incur costs we didn't anticipate.


    I am interested in your thoughts on these concerns I have if this policy is enacted:


    1.  DO EXISTING RESIDENTS GET FIRST PICK ON THE IDENTIFIED SPACES?  Under the policy as proposed, staff children would be able to enroll in school and grades at which the administration has identified open seats.  Do you think residents who live in the system should get first choice on those spots and be able to do intra-district transfers before any seats are offered to non resident staff children?


    2.  SIBLINGS OF NON RESIDENTS.  If we have a spot for one non resident student in third grade at Richard and his younger sibling wants to enroll in Kindergarten and we don't have any extra seats because they were taken by Poupard students who transferred, what would you do?


    3.  CONCERN ABOUT FEEDER SCHOOL CONSEQUENCES.  Assume we have a spot open at Pierce in the 8th grade for a staffer's non-resident student and it is taken by that student.  We all know that we don't allow transfers from North to South.  Would you allow that student to go to South the following year so that he/she could stay with their friends even though a resident North student who wants to participate in their show choir program is denied the opportunity to transfer? If there was only one spot open at South, would you give it to the North resident or the non resident attending Pierce?


    I look forward to your answers to the above questions.


    While we can state in a policy (as this one does) that we won't allow any non resident students in if it will cost us more money, you and I both know that will be a very tough line for the administration to tow when two non resident siblings are at the same school and a third sibling wants to join them but there is "technically" no space, or the Pierce student situation outlined above actually happens. Do you honestly think we are going to send that Pierce non-resident to North?  The result will the administration saying there is nothing they can do--they are following policy, at which time the parent will come to a Board meeting to plea their case.  It is going to be very hard for any board to not do what is best for the child and there goes the "no cost to the district" theory.


    In my personal opinion, these questions are just the tip of the ice berg from an attendance standpoint.  From an equity standpoint, one of our residents, Mr. Jay Hackleman, sent us an interesting analysis of the inequity of allowing non resident students to attend from a financial standpoint.  A copy is attached.  I would appreciate your take on Mr. Hackleman's thoughts when you have a moment.


    I apologize for being so long winded in my email, Mr. Wakefield.  When someone as high profile and well respected in the community as you are shares an opinion, it is especially important to me that I understand their thoughts, as ultimately my vote on any issue can't be based on my personal opinion; it has to be based on the opinions and desires of the entire community.


    Thank you again for writing.  Although we have met in passing at some social events, I would very much like to have breakfast or lunch with you whenever you have time to better get to know you and your thoughts on what I can do as a school board member to better serve our community.


    Thank you and best wishes,






    Ahmed Ismail, Trustee

    Grosse Pointe Public School System

    Phone: 313-343-9060 (The Portrait Place - 10am-5pm)

    Email: ismaila@gpschools.com<mailto:ismaila@gpschools.com>


    Notice to Recipient:  The views expressed in this transmittal and its attachments (if any) are those of its author individually and are not necessarily shared by the other members of the Grosse Pointe Public School System's Board of Trustees and/or its administration.  If you would like the official school board position on an issue or would like to communicate to all of the members of the school board at once, please send your email to schoolboard@gpschools.org<mailto:schoolboard@gpschools.org>.  Thank you.



    From: Chace Wakefield

    Sent: Wednesday, May 04, 2016 2:46:34 PM (UTC-05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)

    To: School Board

    Subject: Allowing district employees to enroll in GP Public Schools To The Grosse Pointe Public School Board:

    First and foremost thank you all for your hard work on behalf of the residents of Grosse Pointe and Harper Woods.  This is another one of those issues that as a Board member, you will probably upset someone or a group of people one way or another.


    Word has been getting around town (and in the real estate community) that the district is considering allowing district employees to enroll their children in Grosse Pointe Public Schools.  I have spoken to my colleagues and others in the community, and after some thought, I do not have an issue with it.


    I highly value the teachers and employees in the district, and figure if we are trusting them to essentially help in raising our kids, we have to trust they are doing a good job of raising their own, and thus allowing their children to attend the schools really isn't a big deal to me.  It might help enrollment a tiny bit, but more than anything I think it is a nice perk for the employees.  My only thought when I first heard about this is that it doesn't really encourage them or force them to move to Grosse Pointe, which I didn't like.


    Then I thought about it a little more and realized not everyone can afford to live here, but we owe it to the people dedicating a big part of their lives to our children to allow them to offer their children the same. There is also the thought that once the children are here and make friends etc., you almost have to live here.  Though the schools are a big driving force to get people to originally move here, they stay here because of the whole package.  They stay here not only for the schools, but also the parks, the libraries, the small town feel, Little League etc..  It would be pretty tough to send my kids to school here and then drive them back to Royal Oak at night. In other words I think it would actually be good in a real estate sense.  Private schools all do it.  You either get a huge discount or tuition is free for employees. It helps them recruit and retain what they would consider are the best employees possible.  It could have that same effect here.  I am fairly certain that almost all of our surrounding districts do it as well.  In the end, I simply think its the right thing to do, but don't get me wrong I am still a fierce advocate of neighborhood schools, and keeping it local.   This whole community property value wise is built on that, and I don't think letting employees bring their kids to school here will change that.


    Chace Wakefield- Associate Broker, GRI, AHWD, SFR.

    Top 5% of Realtors in Metro Detroit 2013 and 2015 Grosse Pointe Board of Realtors Bolton Johnston Associates