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July 28, 1995 - Image 1

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-07-28

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7 5¢



Puddle Jumpers

Families are moving a matter of blocks to be in a different school district.


hen Perry Rosen
stands at the
kitchen window of
her new house, she
can see her old
house a street
The same is al-
most true for the
Cohens and Klars,
who can visit their old neighborhood on an
evening stroll or bike ride.
The three Jewish families puddle-
jumped into nearby subdivisions based on
their common belief: their children will
get a better education in West Bloomfield
schools than in the Walled Lake
Consolidated School District.
They say the repeated failure of voters
in Walled Lake to approve additional funds
to build or renovate new schools prompted
their decision to move into a different school
Some local developers say they're aware
of at least a dozen Jewish families leav-
ing the district because of a perception that
Walled Lake schools aren't on par with
West Bloomfield's.
But, they agree, Walled Lake is still a
hot area for families moving west.
Enrollment in the schools is growing as the
population burgeons.
"I could see what was happening three
or four years ago with all the building go-
ing on and the lack of places to put people,"
Patty Cohen said. "I knew it was going to
be overcrowded soon, and I didn't want my
house to be up for sale with 20 other hous-
es. After we sold our house, a bunch went
up for sale."
Two years ago, Patty and her husband
Hiram moved their family, Stephen, 14,
and Michelle, 11, from Timber's Edge at
Farmington and 14 Mile roads to Woodcliff
on the Lake, three miles away.
The Cohens liked Pleasant Lake
Elementary School, where both children
attended before they moved.
But, "we noticed how the schools in
Walled Lake were not exactly what we'd
hoped for in upper-level education. ...I don't
mean the people in Walled Lake don't care
about education, but it was much more fo-
cused in West Bloomfield," Mrs. Cohen ex-
Perry and Nathan Rosen are waiting
for their house to be completed in Village
Square, a new development connected on
the east to Timber's Edge, their old sub-
division. In the interim, they are living in
a nearby apartment.
Drake Road is a boundary between the
Walled Lake Consolidated and West
Bloomfield school districts.
Perry Rosen also was happy with


The Cohens moved three miles.

Michigan Education Assessment
Pleasant Lake Elementary, but swelling
class sizes and the latest bond defeat in Program (MEAP) scores last year in basic
February solidified her resolve to leave. subjects ranked Bloomfield Hills,
Even though her 9-year-old son Ari had one Birmingham, West Bloomfield, Troy and
year left in elementary school, she and her Lamphere students at the top.
Walled Lake schools didn't make it on
husband packed up the children and sold
the house. In the fall, Ari and twins Emily the list of 11 school districts that received
and Zachary, who are 6 1/2, will attend accreditation status from the state based
Doherty Elementary in the West on MEAP scores.
Per-pupil spending, however, varies
Bloomfield School District.
"There are five of us who came to Village widely between districts.
According to the Department of
Square, a few to Woodcliff, a few to Maple
Creek. When my house was for sale, there Education, per-pupil spending in Walled
were a lot for sale. Some people were ready Lake in the 1994/95 school year was
to move, but I think (the bond issue failure) $6,951.75, compared to $7,385.33 in West
was the last straw," Mrs. Rosen said.
Although the migration of families into
In the past five years, the school-age pop-
ulation in the Walled Lake schools grew by nearby subdivisions doesn't reach mass sta-
about 2,000 students. The Oakland County tus, it is significant enough to be noticed by
Development and Planning Division re- a few major developers in the county.
Herman Frankel of the Herman Frankel
ports the population of Walled Lake is 6,265
this year and is expected to grow to 8,217 Organization, the developer of Timber's
by the year 2010, making the enclave one Edge, the Woodcliff properties, Village
Square and Village Place, said he has made
of the fastest growing in the county.
Mark Mar, who with his wife Nori and a "tremendous number of sales from peo-
three children moved from Timber's Edge ple moving across the line.
"It's because of the school district," Mr.
to Village Place four blocks away, said half
the reason they left was heavy traffic on his Frankel said. "People in Walled Lake have
been unwilling to fund the district. ... The
old street.
But he acknowledged that he and his mentality that exists in the Walled Lake
family sought greener academic pastures School District is so different from the men-
in the West Bloomfield School District, tality in West Bloomfield." •
His daughter, Laurie Frankel, vice
which has a reputation that exceeds Walled

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