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September 26, 2003 - Image 40

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-09-26

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This Week


When •

For The Schools

From the pages of The Jewish News
for this week 10, 20, 30, 40, 50
and 60 years ago.

Proponents explain support for Birmingham Schools tax proposals.

Community members and leaders
gather at Congregation Beth
Abraham Hillel Moses in West
Bloomfield to attend the dedication
of Safe Place, the only kosher shel-
ter in Michigan for victims of
domestic violence.

Staff Writer


hen Birmingham
Public Schools voters
go to the polls Sept.
30, they'll be asked to
approve three proposals that would
add more than $134 million to dis-
trict coffers, while beginning a sink-
ing fund — or rainy day fund — for
long-term use of $3-$4 million per
Jane Polan and Michael Fenberg,
co-chairs of the community group
promoting a "Yes" vote, provide
facts, figures and photographs to
demonstrate why the district needs
this extra infusion of taxpayer
But the bottom line is simple,
they say: The district's 13 classroom
buildings are aging and inadequate.
And the rate of funding now in
place does not provide enough to
remedy the problem.
In opposition to the tax hike is
Concerned School Taxpayers, led by
Jerry Staeger of Bloomfield
Township, which feels that the
school district currently has suffi-
cient funding.
"Our goal is not to be lavish or
excessive, but to be competitive with
all the other districts in the area,"
says Polan, a Franklin resident
whose youngest child is a senior at
Groves High School.
While the district's programming
is second to none, Polan says, most
of its buildings date from 1924 to
the 1950s, and they all need signifi-
cant infrastructure work. The state
of the buildings in the 7,900-stu-
dent district is not evident to the
casual observer, she says, because of
diligent work by the maintenance
and custodial staffs. But frequent
breakdowns are straining the general
fund budget.
Just this year, for example, burst
water mains at Greenfield
Elementary, Berkshire Middle and
Seaholm High schools sent repair



Jewish Historical Society of
Michigan will dedicate a plaque in
memory of David E. Heineman, the
designer of the official flag for the
city of Detroit. The flag first flew
above the old city hall in 1949.


B'nai B'rith opens a $4 million senior
citizen housing project in Harrisburg,
Pa., its third such complex for elderly
persons with low incomes.


Jane Polan and Michael Fenberg examine evidence in support of Birmingham
Public School renovations.

bills skyrocketing, with $27,000 at
Seaholm alone. Fenberg, a
Birmingham resident whose
youngest daughter is a first-grader at
the district's Quarton Elementary,
says "as a parent, I want her to have
every advantage."
"Right now, our physical plant is
not competitive with the surround-
ing districts'," he says. "And if this
continues, property values are going
to suffer."

Maintaining Quality

The Birmingham Public Schools
serve residents of Beverly Hills,
Bingham Farms and Franklin as well
as the city of Birmingham itself. In
addition, the district draws students
from parts of Southfield, Troy, West
Bloomfield, Bloomfield Hills and
Bloomfield Township.
In all these neighborhoods, only
about 20 percent of the voters have
children in the public schools,
points out Dr. Bruce Fisher of
Franklin. For the remainder, the idea

of spending more money for schools
that already have a sterling reputa-
tion is a hard sell.
"The main reason most people I
know moved to the area was because
of the schools," says Dr. Fisher, who
has children at Berkshire Middle
School and West Maple Elementary.
"If we want our schools to remain
great schools — not just the reputa-
tion of being great schools, but the
reality — we need these proposals to
Although the state allots approxi-
mately $12,000 per pupil each year
in foundation grants, Birmingham,
like other districts, spends nearly 88
percent of this amount for salary
and benefits.
If all three proposals on the Sept.
30 ballot pass, residents whose
homes have a taxable value of
$100,000 will see an increase of
about $125 a year for 10 years on
their tax bills. Since taxable value is
half or less of the estimated market

FOR THE SCHOOLS on page 41

A program of Hebrew education
for adults is announced under the
auspices of the United Hebrew
Schools of Detroit.
A new Yavne teachers training
seminar for young women is estab-
lished by the Telshe Yeshiva in
Cleveland to help alleviate the
shortage of women teachers
throughout the Midwest.

The Detroit Alumni Chapter of
Alpha Omega, national dental fra-
ternity, launches a campaign here for
the projected dental college in Israel.
The Young People's Social Club
will hold its annual scholarship
dance at the Davison Jewish Center
in Detroit.
W gq

Music lovers form "Detroit Friends
of Opera," with Fred Butzel as one
of the chairmen.
The B'nai B'rith Hillel
Foundation at the University of
Michigan in Ann Arbor will hold
traditional High Holiday services
for servicemen, students and towns-
people. 0
— Compiled by Holly Teasdle,
archivist, the Rabbi Leo M. Franklin
Archives of Temple Beth El

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