Tempers Flare at East Lansing School Board Meeting

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Tempers flared at the recent East Lansing Public Schools Board Meeting regarding the issue to close the Red Cedar Elementary School as part of the upcoming public bond election.

Board members Nell Kuhnmuench and Dr. Donna Rich-Kaplowitz accused Superintendent Dr. Dave Chapin, Board President Rima Addiego, and the other board members of a lack of transparency.

“On January 23rd 2012 the majority of this board attempted to alter the configuration of the district regardless of the outcome of the Feb. 28 public bond election,” said Kuhnmuench in a statement prepared by herself and Rich-Kaplowitz.

Kuhnmuench also said that the board took this action without letting the public know in advance, or giving the public a say in the decision.

The statement by Kuhnmuench and Rich-Kaplowitz sparked a debate with the other members of the board, including Superintendent Dr. Dave Chapin, who defended the board’s decision.

“I brought this forward to provide clarity to the community from the board prior to the election,” said Chapin. “We did everything in front of the public in a public meeting. I thought it was very clear what was taking place.”

Board member Jay Todd also had strong words in response to the statement.

“I am mildly-offended by the implication that there was a violation of the by-laws,” said Todd. “I think we’ve been very open to the public.”

Todd he didn’t think that you can get more open then they did and mentioned that now was not the time to be discussing this matter.

Board members Babette Krause and Kay Biddle echoed similar thoughts and both resented the implication that something was done “behind closed doors.”

Board President Rima Addiego becameemotional while defending the board’s decision.

“We are in a process of moving forward a proposal for the brain trust of our kids’ future,” said Addiego.  Addiego also questioned why Kuhnmuench and Rich-Kaplowitz did not mention anything in the previous meeting.

“They had the opportunity to express that at the previous meeting, and they chose not to,” said Addiego.  She also added that she would never attempt to mislead anyone on the board nor anyone in the community.

Kuhnmuench and Rich-Kaplowitz are hoping to have the resolution rescinded and have the public vote on the matter on during the upcoming election on February 28th.

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