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.
Red Cedar Elementary
The three candidates agreed no elementary school in the district should be closed. The current members of the school board have been attempting to pass a bond that would shut down Red Cedar Elementary School.
“It’s not the entire board, but a narrow majority that has decided to ignore the voters,” Lloyd said. “Red Cedar is the anchor of our southern district. Why do you punish success?”
Revitte also said the school board needed to make more unanimous decisions.
“The board majority voted too often by slim majorities over the past year,” said Revitte. “No East Lansing Public Schools should be closed at this time.”
Another area of concern in the East Lansing School District is what Edsall described as an “achievement gap.”
The difference between the academic success of East Lansing’s highest and lowest scoring students is too large, according to Edsall. She said the school board created a committee to shrink the achievement gap, but it has been unsuccessful.
“I think we need to, as a district, focus on closing the gap,” said Edsall. “I feel the district has lost sight of achievement and pushing all of our students to achieve.”
Lloyd said the East Lansing School District was a top 10 district in Michigan when he was a student.
He added that, “under the watch of the current school board,” East Lansing schools have fallen out of the top 100 and are now behind Williamston, Okemos and Haslett.
“We have some of the smartest educators in the world right here in this town,” Lloyd said. “We need a change in leadership. We need to start listening to these experts.”
The East Lansing School Board has also proposed moving 6th graders from elementary schools to middle schools.
Edsall said she opposes the idea. She suggested the district should either have six K-6 schools or two K-4 and four K-6 schools to keep all the schools functioning and reduce school transitions.
Revitte agreed that transitions between schools should be minimized. He said configuration should “promote academic achievement” and “keeping schools in neighborhoods.”
“There are several compromise solutions that could accomplish these objectives and keep all buildings functioning,” said Revitte.
The upcoming East Lansing School Board election is critical, according to Lloyd. He said it will have an impact on the entire East Lansing community.
Lloyd said “the decisions of the school board are going to affect what professors (Michigan State University) can hire and where students will be able to live.
“If Red Cedar (Elementary School) closes, that is going to ripple through all of East Lansing.”
For more information regarding the other three candidates, read Chris Ryan’s upcoming article.