Members of the Red Cedar neighborhood voiced concerns over the closing of the Red Cedar Elementary School at the joint East Lansing City Council and Board Meeting on Monday, March 21. In February, the school board unanimously voted against reopening the school, despite previously approving the motion in December. The decision caused widespread disappointment among those who felt the elementary building was an integral part of the Red Cedar neighborhood. “We were very excited at the plans that came forward earlier in the year,” said former city council member Kathleen Boyle. “We were very disappointed that those plans were met with so much objection and rancor and we’re disappointed that we can’t go forward with those at this time.”
At the time the elementary school was being considered for reopening, the school board announced plans of beginning “innovative educational programming” at the building.
EAST LANSING – During a joint meeting of the East Lansing City Council and East Lansing Public School Board this past Monday, three residents advocated to update the city’s neighborhood schools and reopen Red Cedar Elementary at 1110 Narcissus Drive, which closed June 2014. “You get the sense that when people voted to close the school, or supported to close the school or opposed the reopening of the schools, they did it because they don’t believe in neighborhood schools,“ said resident Fred Jacobs, accounting professor at Michigan State University. “The actual reason they support closing a school is because they do value neighborhood schools and it’s not their school that’s being closed…It’s a self interest thing.”
Fred Jacobs’ wife, Kathy, said that since schools like Red Cedar and Central began to close, families have started to move out in search a home that could give them the “very safe, friendly and unique” feeling that the Flowerpot Neighborhood could no longer provide. “This has changed the dynamic of the neighborhood,” said Kathy Jacobs, East Lansing resident. “I’m afraid this trend is saying to families who especially care about the environment that no, you can’t live in the city, you must move to the suburbs and drive a car.”
The School Board agreed, with Board of Education President Nell Kuhnmuench immediately turning to Mayor Mark Meadows so they could discuss their approach.
The East Lansing School Board will make a decision November 11 on whether the district will re-align the five elementary and middle school boundaries. Parents of children who attend these schools are concerned the change could affect learning and separate students from friends. Listen to the story.
By Alex Barhorst
Entirely East Lansing staff writer
Candidates Kathleen Edsall, Alec Lloyd, and John Revitte expressed similar opinions regarding a need for change on the East Lansing School Board. Edsall and Lloyd are campaigning for the four-year term on the school board, and Revitte is running for the two-year partial term in the November elections. Four candidates are campaigning for the four-year position and two are running for the two-year position. Edsall and Lloyd are competing against Rima Addiego, an incumbent, and Nate Lake. Revitte’s only challenger is Kay Young Biddle, the incumbent for the two year position.